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A SHORT HISTORY 



OP 



SYEIAC LITEEATUEE 



Cambrtlige : 

PRINTED BY C. J. CLAY, M.A. AND SONS, 
AT THE UNIVEESITY PRESS, 



A SHOET HISTOEY 



OF 



SYEIAC LITERATUEE 



BY 



THE LATE 

WILLIAM WRIGHT, LL.D. 

PROFESSOE OF ARABIC IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE. 



LONDON 
ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK 

1894 




NOV 6 I94a 



PREFATORY NOTE. 

THIS volume is a reprint of the late Professor 
W. Wright's article on Syriac Literature, 
which appeared in vol. XXII. of the Encyclo- 
IKiedia Britannica in 1887. A number of brief 
additions have been made, in order to note 
publications subsequent to the date of the article : 
these are enclosed in square brackets. A few 
of them are derived from notes made by Professor 
Wright on his own copy, or were suggested in 
letters written to him by M. Duval and Dr Nestle ; 
and many of the others are due to the late 
Professor W. Robertson Smith, who was keenly 
interested in the preparation of this edition. An 
index has been added which will, it is hoped, 
increase the usefulness of the work. 

N. M. 

September, 1894. 



ERKATUM. 
On p. 185 1. 9 for Bar-Sahde read Bar-Sahde. 



SYKIAC LITERATUEE 



npHE literature of Syria, as known to us at the 
-*- present day, is, with the exception of trans- 
lations from the Greek and some other languages, 
a Christian literature. The writings of the Syrian 
heathens, such as the so-called Sabians of Harran, 
which were extant, at least in part, even in the 
13th century \ seem to have now wholly dis- 
appeared. The beginnings of this literature are 
lost in the darkness of the earliest ages of 
Christianity. It was at its best from the 4th to 
the 8th century, and then gradually died away, 
though it kept up a flickering existence till the 
14th century or even later. We must own — and 
it is well to make the confession at the outset — 
that the literature of Syria is, on the whole, not 
an attractive one. As Renan said long ago^ the 

1 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Syr., ed. Bruns and Kirsch, 
p. 176 [ed. Bedjan, p. 168] ; Chwolsohn, Ssahier und 
Ssahismtis, i. 177. 

'^ De Philosophia Peripatetica apiid Syros, 1852, p. 3. 



2 SYllIAC LITERATURE. 

characteristic of the Syrians is a certain medio- 
crity. They shone neither in war, nor in the 
arts, nor in science. They altogether lacked the 
poetic fire of the older — we purposely emphasize 
the word — the older Hebrews and of the Arabs. 
But they were apt enough as pupils of the 
Greeks ; they assimilated and reproduced, adding 
little or nothing of their own. There was no 
Al-Farabi, no Ibn Sina, no Ibn Rushd, in the 
cloisters of Edessa, Ken-neshre, or Nisibis. Yet 
to the Syrians belongs the merit of having passed 
on the lore of ancient Greece to the Arabs, and 
therefore, as a matter of history, their literature 
must always possess a certain amount of interest 
in the eyes of the modern student. The Syrian 
Church never produced men w^ho rose to the level 
of a Eusebius, a Gregory Nazianzen, a Basil, and 
a Chrysostom ; but we may still be thankful to 
the plodding diligence which has preserved for us 
in fairly good translations many valuable works of 
Greek fathers which would otherwise have been 
lost. And even Syria's humble chroniclers, such 
as John of Ephesus, Dionysius of Tell-Mahre, and 
Bar-Hebrseus, deserve their meed of praise, seeing 
that, without their guidance, we should have 
known far less than we now know about the 
history of two important branches of the Eastern 
Church, besides losing much interesting informa- 



PESHITTA. 3 

tion as to the political. events of the periods with 
which their annals are occupied. 

As Syriac literature commences with the 
Bible, we first briefly enumerate the different 
versions of Holy Scripture. 

The most important of these is the so-called 
Peshitta (mappaktcl peshUtcl), " the simple " or 
"plain version/' the Syriac vulgate. This name 
is in use as early as the 9th or 10th century ^ 
As to the Old Testament, neither the exact time 
nor place of its translation is known ; indeed, 
from certain differences of style and manner in its 
several parts, we may rather suppose it to be the 
work of different hands, extending over a con- 
siderable period of time. It would seem, however, 
as a whole, to have been a product of the 2nd 
century, and not improbably a monument of the 
learning and zeal of the Christians of Edessa. 
Possibly Jewish converts, or even Jews, took a 
part in it, for some books (such as the Pentateuch 
and Job) are very literally rendered, whereas the 
coincidences with the LXX. (which are particu- 
larly numerous in the prophetical books) show the 
hand of Christian translators or revisers. That 
Jews should have had at any rate a consultative 

1 See the passage of Moses bar Kepha, who died in 
1)03, cited by the Abbe Martin in his Introduction d la 
Critique Textuelle dtt JVouveaic Testament^ p. 101, note, 

1—2 



4 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

share in this work need not surprise us, when we 
remember that Syrian fathers, such as Aphraates, 
in the middle of the 4th century, and Jacob of 
Edessa, in the latter half of the 7th, had frequent 
recourse, like Jerome, to the scholars of the 
synagogue. To what extent subsequent revision 
may have been carried it is not easy to say ; but 
it seems tolerably certain that alterations were 
made from time to time with a view to harmo- 
nizing the Syriac text with that of the LXX. 
Such an opportunity may, for instance, have been 
afforded on a considerable scale by the adoption of 
Lucian's text of the LXX. at Antioch in the 
beginning of the 4th century. On all these 
points, however, we know nothing for certain, and 
may well repeat the words of Theodore of Mop- 
suestia in his commentary on Zephaniah i. 6 ^ : 
r]piJbr)vevTai Se ravra eh fiev rrjv Xvpcov irap' orov 
Bij TTore' ovBe yap eyvcoarat /^e^/Ot tt}? rr^fjuepov 
oarrt^ Trore ovTO<i iarlv. 

The canonical books of the Old Testament 
according to the Peshitta are substantially those 
of the Hebrew Bible. In the Massoretic MSS. (see 
below, p. 20 sq.), whether Nestorian or Jacobite, 
the books of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah are 
passed over, and in the Nestorian the book of 



PESHITTA. 5 

Esther also. But, on the other hand, it must be 
noticed that all these books are cited by Aphraates, 
and that they all appear in the Codex Ambrosia- 
nus. Of the Chronicles there is a MS. of the 
6th century in the British Museum, Add. 17104. 
Esther appears in a volume of equal age (Add. 
14652) as one of the constituent parts of the 
" Book of Women," the others being Ruth, 
Susanna, Judith, and the history of Thecla, the 
disciple of St Paul, which last is excluded from 
Biblical MSS. The oldest dated MS. of any 
portion of the Old Testament at present known 
to us is Add. 14425 in the British Museum (Gen., 
Exod., Num., Deut.), transcribed at Amid by a 
deacon named John in 464. The deutero-canoni- 
cal books or apocrypha, translated by different 
hands from the Greeks are nearly the same as in 
the LXX.2 The Codex Ambrosianus^, for example, 
contains Wisdom, the Epistle of Jeremiah, and 
two Epistles of Baruch ; the Song of the Three 

1 Some scholars, such as P. de Lagarde and Bickell, 
think that Ecclcsiasticus was translated from the lost 
Hebrew text. 

2 See Ceriani, Monumenta Sacra et Profana, vol. i. 
fascc. 1,2; vol. v. fascc. 1,2; P. de Lagarde, Libri Vet. 
Test. Apocryphi Syriace. 

3 Splendidly reproduced at Milan by the process of 
photo-lithography under the direction of the Rev. Dr 
A. M. Ceriani, 5 parts, 1876 foil. 



6 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Children, Bel and the Dragon, and Susanna ; 
Judith, Siracides or Ecclesiasticus ; the Apoca- 
lypse of Baruch ; the fourth book of Esdras ; and 
five books of the Maccabees, the fourth being the 
history of Samona and her sons, and the fifth 
Josephi de Bello Judaico lib. vi. ^ To these must 
be added from other MSS. the first or third book 
of Esdras, the book of Tobit, and the prayer of 
Manasses. Of the first book of the Maccabees 
two recensions are extant, as far as chap. xiv. 24. 
The book of Tobit presents the text of the LXX. 
as far as chap. vii. 11". 

The canonical books of the New Testament 
are the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles (to 
which are annexed the three catholic epistles, viz., 
James, 1 Peter, and 1 John), and the fourteen 
epistles of St Paul. The shorter apostolic epistles, 
viz., 2 and 3 John, 2 Peter, and Jude, and the 
Apocalypse of St John, were rejected by the early 
S3rrian Church I 

1 See Das 6te Buch d. Bellum Judaicum ilhersetzt u. 
h'itisch bearbeitet, by Dr H. Kottek, Berlin, 1886 ; only 
capp. 1 and 2. 

2 See the Syriac note on p. xii. of De Lagarde's 
edition. 

3 The j)rincipal editions of the Peshltta are contained 
in the Paris polyglott of Le Jay and the London polyglott 
of Walton, to which latter is attached the immortal 
Lexicon Heptaglotton of Edmund Castell. The Old 
Testament (without the apocrypha) was edited by S. Lee 



PESHITTA AND CURETONIAN GOSPELS. 7 

As to the Peshitta version of the Gospels (P), 
a variety of critical questions arise when we 
consider it in connexion with two other works, 
the Dia-tessaron of Tatian (T) and the Curetonian 
Gospels (Sc)\ Tatian, the friend of Justin Martyr, 
afterwards counted a heretic, composed out of the 
four Gospels a work which received the title of 
To hici Teaadpcov eva<y<ye\iov, in Syriac more 
briefly Dia-tessaron or Evangelion da-Mehallete, 
" the Gospel of the Mixed." It is a subject of 
controversy whether Tatian wrote this work in 
Greek or in Syriac, and whether he compiled it 

in 1823 for the Bible Society, and is frequently bound up 
with the New Testament of 1826. The first edition of 
the New Testament was that of J. A. Widmanstad, with 
the help of Moses of Mardin (Vienna, 1555). Those of 
Tremellius (1569), Trost (1621), Gutbir (1664), and Leusden 
and Schaaf (1708, 1717) are well known. To the last 
named belongs Schaafs admirable Lexicon Syriacum 
Concordantiale. The American missionaries at Urumiyah 
have published both the Old and New Testaments in 
ancient and modern Syriac, the former in 1852, the latter 
in 1846. [A convenient and cheap edition of the N.T., 
with the Psalter, in Nestorian characters, has been pub- 
lished at New York. An edition of the O.T. printed 
by the Dominicans of Mosul (2 vols, 1887, 8) follows the 
order of the Vulgate and claims to be free from Protestant 
corruptions. A third vol. containing the N.T. is reported 
as published in 1891.] 

1 Remains of a very Antient Recension of the Four 
Gospels in Syriac, hitherto xinknown in Europe^ discovered, 
edited, and translated by W. Cureton, D.D., F.R.S., 1858. 



8 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

from the Greek Gospels or from a previous Syriac 
version. According to Zahn^ and Baethgen^ the 
author's language was Syriac, his sources Greek. 
They hold that this was the only Gospel in use in 
the Syrian Church for nearly a century, but that 
about the year 250, under the influence of Western 
MSS. of the Greek text (see Westcott and Hort, 
The New Testament in the Original Greek, Introd., 
§§ 118, 214), a version of "the Separate Gospels," 
Evangelion da-Mepharreshe, was introduced ^ The 
translator, according to Baethgen^ made use of T 
as far as he could ; and of this text Sc is, in the 
opinion of these scholars, the solitary survival in 
our days. The evidence for this view does not, 
however, appear to be conclusive. It seems that 
a Syriac version of the four Gospels, as well as of 
the other parts of the New Testament, must have 
existed in the 2nd century, perhaps even before 
the version of the Old Testament. From this 
Tatian may have compiled his Dia-tessaron, or he 
may have written that work in Greek and others 
may have done it into Syriac. Be that as it may, 
T certainly gained great popularity in the early 

1 Forschungen ziir Geschicht^ des neutestamentlichen 
Kano7is, &c., 1. Theil: Tatian^ s Diatessaron^ pp. 98, 99. 

2 Evangelienfragmente. Der griechiscJie Text des Cure- 
tonhchen Syrers wiederhergestellt, 1885. 

3 Zahn, op. cit., pp. 104-106. 

4 Op. cit., pp. 59, 60, 72 sq. 



PESHITTA AND CURETONIAN GOSPELS. 9 

Syrian Church, and almost superseded the Sepa- 
rate Gospels. Aphraates quoted it^ ; Ephraim 
wrote a commentary upon it- ; the Doctrine of 
Added or Addseus (in its present shape a work of 
the latter half of the 4th century) transfers it to 
the apostolic times ^ ; Rabbula, bishop of Edessa 
(411-435), promulgated an order that "the priests 
and deacons should take care that in every church 
there should be a copy of the Separate Gospels 
(Evangelion da-Mepharreshe), and that it should 
be read""*; and Theodoret, bishop of Cyrrhus 
(423-457), swept up more than two hundred 
copies of it in the churches of his diocese, and 
introduced the four Gospels in their place : ra 
TMV Terrdpoiv evayyeXiaTwv avT€L(r'i]ya'yov evay- 
jeXia^. The result of these and similar well 
meant efforts is that not a single copy of T has 



1 Wright's edition, p. w*--*, 1. 10, "as it is written at 

the head of the Gospel of our Lifegiver, In the beginning 
was the Word." 

2 Now extant only in the old Armenian version, 
translated by the Mechitarist Aucher, and revised by 
G. Mosinger under the title of Evangelii Concordantis 
Expositio facta a S. Ephraemo, Venice, 1876. 

3 Philhps's edition, p. OL, 1. 17. 

4 S. Ephraemi Syri Rahulce epi Edesseni Balcei alio- 
rumque opera selecta, ed. J. J. Overbeck, Oxford, 1865, 
p. 220, 3. 

^ AipertK^s- KaKOjxvdias eTnTOfirj, i. 20. 



10 SVRIAC LITERATURE. 

come down to our times ^ Both Aphraates and 
Ephraim, however, made use of the Separate 
Gospels. The former seems to have employed a 
text which Baethgen calls a slightly revised form 
of Sc {op. cit, p. 95) ; we would rather speak of it 
as a revised form of the old Syriac Gospels of the 
2nd century. The latter made use of a more 
thorough Edessene revision, closely approaching 
in form to, if not identical with, P (Baethgen, 

1 Martin's article " Le Aia reo-crdpoiv de Tatien " (from 
Revue des Questio7is Historiques, April 1883) contains 
much curious literary information, particularly regarding 
similar compilations of later date. See also Ciasca's 
article " De Tatiani Diatessaron Arabica Versione," in 
Cardinal Pitra's Aiialecta Sacra Spicilegio Solesmensi 
parata, iv. 465. [The Vatican MS. of] this Arabic 
Diatessaron begins with Mark i. 1, John i. 1-5, Luke i. 
5-80, Matthew i. l-25a, Luke ii. 1-39. Ciasca's copy is 
now (1887) in the hands of De Lagarde, who has published 
a few pages of it in Nachrichten von der Jconigl. Gesellschaft 
der Wissensckaften, 1886, No. 4, pp. 150-158. According 
to De Lagarde, the text is that of the ordinary Peshltta. 
[In 1886 the Museum Borgianum acquired a better MS. 
of the Arabic Tatian from Egypt, and from it, and the 
Vatican MS. described in his earlier essay, Ciasca published 
Tatiani evajigeliorum hai'monioe Arabice, with a Latin 
transl., Rome, 1888. According to a note in the Cod. 
Borg. this Arabic version was made by the Nestorian 
Abulfaraj 'Abdallah b. at-Tib (f a.d. 1043) from a Syriac 
copy written by a disciple of the famous Honain b. Ishak. 
Thus, at best, the Arabic version gives only the form that 
the Syriac Tatian had assumed in the middle of the ninth 
century. The Borgian MS. begins with Joh. i. 1.] 



PESHiTTA AND CURETONIAN GOSPELS. 11 

p. 95 ; Zahn, p. 63) ^ Our oldest MSS. of P are, 
however, more than a hundred years later than 
Ephraim's time. We cannot, therefore, expect 
very important textual results from the collation 
of even such MSS. as Add. 14470, 14453, 14459, 
ff. 1-66, and 17117, in the British Museum, all of 
which may be safely accribed to the latter part of 
the 5th or the beginning of the 6th century^. 
Early in the 5th century Rabbiila, bishop of 
Edessa, the friend and correspondent of Cyril of 
Alexandria, occupied himself with "translating 
the New Testament out of the Greek into the 
Syriac, because of its variations, exactly as it 
was^" This probably means, as has been sug- 
gested by Nestle, that Rabbula undertook a re- 
vision of the Syriac text according to a Greek 
MS. or MSS. in his possession, that is to saj^, still 
further assimilated P of that day to a Greek 
(possibly, from his connexion with Cyril, Alex- 
andrian) text. We do not as yet know, however, 
whether this revision was merely a private effort, 
or what influence, if any, it exercised on the 
history of P ; more likely it was a first step in the 
direction of the Philoxenian version (see below). 

1 [See also an essay by Rev. F. H. Woods in Stitdia 
Bihlica, iii. 105 sq. (Oxford, 181)1).] 

2 [Cf. Rev. G. H. Gwilliaiu's essay " MatcriaLs for the 
criticism of the Peshitto N.T. etc." in Studin Biblica, iii. 
47 sq.] ^ Overbcck, op. cit., p. 172, 18-20. 



12 SYRTAC LITERATURE. 

The result of these successive revisions as regards 
Sc has been that it survives in but one mutilated 
codex, and that written at comparatively so late a 
date as 450-470 ^ — a phenomenon which has its 
parallel in the case of the Itala codex c of the 
Gospels, copied in the 11th century. The greater 
part of this volume is in the British Museum 
(Add. 14451)-; but there are three leaves of it in 
the royal library at Berlin, forming the fly-leaves 
of the MS. marked Orient. Quart. 528'. Crow- 
foot's attempt to retranslate Sc into Greek is a 

1 The whole of the Abbe Martin's elaborate argumen- 
tation (Litrod. a la Critique Textuelle du N.T., pp. 
163-236) is of no avail against this palaeographic fact. 
No one who is conversant with Syriac MSS. can for a 
moment doubt that our codex of Sc was written within a 
few years of the time indicated above. The handwritings 
of Jacob of Edessa's time (the latter half of the 7th 
century) are altogether different. Possessors of the abba's 
work should cancel pp. 234-236. The " Postscriptum," 
as the author himself has explained, is only an elaborate 
joke. There is no MS. Add. 70125 in the British Museum, 
no catalogue of the Greek MSS. in twenty-five volumes, 
and of course no such photograph exists as he has 
described. As for the " special telegram " from "Reverend 
Crowfoot" through the "agence Fri-Frou-Fro and Co.," 
dated 25th December, 1882, it is enough to say that 
Mr Crowfoot died on 18th March 1875. 

2 See Wright, Catalogue^ p. 73, No. cxix. 

3 See Rodiger in the Monatsherichte of the Berlin 
Academy for July 1872, p. 557 ; Wright, Fragments of the 
Curet07iian Gospels (privately printed). 



MONOPHYSITE VERSIONS. 13 

failure (Fragmenta Evangelica, 1870-72) ; Baeth- 
gen's work (Evangelienfragmente, &c.) will perhaps 
be found more satisfactory. 

[At the present moment all critical questions 
connected with the history of the Old Syriac 
Gospels stand suspended, till the publication of 
the Sinai Palimpsest, which was unearthed and 
photographed by Mrs Lewis in 1892 ; identified 
from her photographs by the late Prof Bensly 
and Mr Burkitt as containing a text closely allied 
to the Curetonian ; and copied by these gentle- 
men and Mr Rendel Harris at Sinai in the spring 
of 1893. The publication has been undertaken 
by the Cambridge University Press.] 

The scholars of the Monophysite branch of 
the Syrian Church were, however, by no means 
satisfied even with the revised text of P, and 
demanded a yet more accurate reproduction of 
the Greek text in use among them. Accordingly 
Aksenaya or Philoxenus, bishop of Mabbogh 
(485-519), undertook to satisfy this want, and 
with the assistance of his chorepiscopus, Polycarp, 
produced a literal translation of the whole- Bible 
in the year 508 \ This seems at first to have met 
with considerable approval ; Moses of Aggel, for 

1 Assemani, Bihliotheca Orientalis, ii. 23. [The B.O. 
is one of those works which may be justly styled Kcifx^Xiov 
€s aft.] 



14 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

example, who flourished from 550 to 570\ refers 
to the version of the New Testament and of the 
Psalms evidently as the standard work of the 
day 2. But it was in its turn superseded by two 
later revisions, and MSS. of it are now very rare. 
Portions of Isaiah survive in the British Museum, 
Add. 17106, ff. 74-87 ^ and the text of the Gos- 
pels in the codex A. 2, 18 of the Biblioteca An- 
gelica at Rome, of the 11th or 12th century ^ and 
perhaps also in the Beirut (Beyrout) MS. de- 
scribed by Isaac H. Hall^ At the beginning of 
the 7th century the work of retranslation and 
revision was again taken in hand by the Mono- 
physites, the scene of their labours being the 
different convents in the neighbourhood of Alex- 
andria. There, in the years 616-617^ Paul, 
bishop of Telia dhe-Mauzelath or Constantina, 

1 B.O., ii. 82. 

2 Ibid.^ ii. 83 ; Guidi, Rendiconti delta R. Accademia 
dei Lincei, May and June 1886, p. 404. 

3 Edited by Ceriani in Monumenta Sacra et Profana, 
vol. V. fasc. 1, P13. 1-40. 

'^ See Bernstein, Das heilige Evangelium des Johannes^ 
Leipsic, 1853, krit. AnmerJcimgen, pp. 3, 29 ; Martin, 
Introd. a la Grit. Text du N.T., pp. 160--161. 

° Syriac Manuscript, Gospels of a pre-Harklensian 
Version, Acts and Epistles of the Peshitto Version, loritten 
{probably) between 700 and 900 J.. 2)., January, 1884. 

6 See Ceriani, Monumenta, vol. i. fasc. 1 : Prolegomena 
in Edit. Vers. Syr. ex Textu LXX., p. iii. ; Martin, Introd., 
X). 139, note. 



MONOPHYSITE VERSIONS. 15 

undertook a version of the hexaplar text of the 
LXX. at the request of the patriarch Athanasius 
I.^ Of parts of this many MSS. are extant in 
the British Museum and the Bibliotheque Na- 
tionale at Paris, and the Biblioteca Ambrosiana 
at Milan possesses the second vohime of a codex 
of the entire work, which has been reproduced by 
photo-lithography under the direction of Ceriani^ 
This version not only exhibits the asterisks and 
obeli of Origen's text of the LXX., but the mar- 
ginal notes contain many readings of the other 

1 B.O., ii. 333-334. 

2 Monumenta^ vol. vii. : Codex Syro-hexaplaris Am- 
bi'osianus, 1874. The first volume of this codex was in the 
possession of Andreas Masius, but has disappeared since 
his death in 1573. It contained part of Deuteronomy, 
Joshua, Judges, (four books of) Kings, Chronicles, Ezra 
(and Nehemiah), Judith, and part of Tobit. See Middel- 
dori^f, Codex ST/riaco-hexaplaris, Berhn, 1835, who enume- 
rates in his preface the labours of previous editors. 
Since his time the books of Judges and Euth have been 
pubHshed by T. Skat Rordam {Libri Judicum et Ruth 
secundum Vers. Si/riaco-hexaplarem, Copenhagen, 1859-61), 
and Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, 1 and 2 Kings, by P. de 
Lagarde (Vet. Test, ah Origene recensiti Fragmenta apud 
Syros servata quinque^ Gottingen, 1880, printed with 
Hebrew letters). Ceriani has commenced a critical edition 
in the Monumeyita, vol. i. fasc. 1 ; vol. ii. fascc. 1-4 ; vol. v. 
fascc. 1, 2. [Finally, De Lagarde's posthumous volume, 
Bihliothecce Syriacce (Gottingen, 1892), contains a fresh 
edition of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges and 
Ruth, 1 and 2 Kings.] 



16 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Greek translators, which have been largely uti- 
lized by Field in his noble work Origenis Hexci- 
plorum quce super sunt (2 vols., Oxford, 1875). At 
the same time and place the New Testament of 
Philoxenus was thoroughly revised by Thomas of 
Harkel or Heraclea^, bishop of Mabbogh^, who, 
being driven from his diocese, betook himself to 
Alexandria and worked there in the convent of 
St Antony at the Enaton (or Nine-mile- village) ^ 
This version comprises not only all the books 
contained in the Peshitta but also the four shorter 
epistles^ The lapse of another century brings us 

1 See^.a, ii. 90, 334; Bernstein, De Hharklensi N.T. 
Translatione Syriaca Commentatio, p. 4. 

2 Or Manbij ; according to others, of Germanicia, or 
Mar'ash. He must not be confounded with an older 
Thomas of Germanicia, a Monophysite of the earlier part 
of the 6th century; see B.O.^ ii. 92, 326; Kleyn, Jacobus 
Baradaeils^ p. 43, note 1. 

3 See Wright, Catal, p. 34, note. 

4 It has been edited by White at Oxford — the Gospels 
in 1778, the Acts and Apostolic epistles in 1799, the 
Pauline epistles in 1803. The epistle to the Hebrews is 
defective, ending in the middle of chap. xi. 27[, but this 
lacuna has been supplied, from the Cambridge MS., by 
Bensly's The Harklean Version of the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
Chap. xi. 28-xiii. 25, Cambridge, 1889]. The text of the 
shorter epistles, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Jude, has been 
recently reproduced by phototype from a manuscript dated 
1471 — Williams Manuscript. The Syrian Antilegomena 
Epistles . . . edited by Isaac H. Hall, 1886. Consult also 
Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, vol. xxvii. No. 



MALKITE VERSION. 17 

to the last attempt at a revision of the Old Testa- 
ment in the Monophysite Church. Jacob, bishop 
of Edessa, undertook, when living in retirement 
in the convent of Tell-' Adda or Teleda^, in 704- 
705, to revise the text of the Peshitta with the 
help of the Greek versions at his disposal^, thus 
producing a curious eclectic or patchwork text. 
Of this work there are but five volumes extant in 
Europe, four of which came from the Nitrian 
Desert and form parts of a set which was written 
in the years 719-720. It would seem, therefore, 
never to have attained popularity^ 

One other version remains to be noticed, 
namely, that used by the Christian population of 
the Malkite (Greek) Church in Palestine, written 
in an Aramaic dialect more akin to the language 

viii., "On a Syrian MS. belonging to the Collection of 
Archbishop Ussher," by the Rev. J. Gwynn, D.D. [On a 
possible revision by Barsalibi, see Hermathena vi. 417.] 
There is a fine MS. of this version, dated 1170, in the 
university library, Cambridge, Add. MS. 1700. Its peculiar 
feature is that it has the two epistles of Clement inserted 
between the catholic epistles and those of St Paul. 

1 Probably the modern Tell'adi or Tell'ade ; see Socin, 
Paldst. u. Syrien, p. 480 ; Sachau, Reise in Syrien u. Meso- 
potamien, p. 459. 

2 Wright, Catal, p. 38, col. 1. 

3 See Ceriani, Le Edizioni e i Manoscritti delle Versioni 
Siriache del Vecchio Test., 1869, p. 27, and Monumentay 
vol. ii. fasc. 1, pp. xi., xii., vol. v. fasc. 1, pp. 1-40; Martin, 
Introd., pp. 230-232, 296 sq. 

S. L. 2 



18 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

of the Jewish Targums than to that of the 
Peshitta\ A lectionary containing large portions 
of the Gospels in this dialect was described by 
Assemani in the catalogue of the Vatican library^, 
studied by Adler^, and edited by Count Fr. 
Miniscalchi Erizzo under the title of Evange- 
liarium Hierosolymitanum (2 vols., Verona, 1861- 
64) [and again by De Lagarde in his posthumous 
work Bibliothecw Syriacce (Gottingen, 1892)]. It 
was written in a convent at a place called Abud^, 
not very far from Jerusalem, in the year 1030, 
and the scribe claims to have copied sundry other 
service-books for the use of his church (see Asse- 
mani, op. cit, p. 102). Fragments of other evan- 
geliaria have been published by Land, from MSS. 
at London and St Petersburg, in his Anecd. Syr., 
iv. pp. 114-162, 213-222; of the Acts of the 
Apostles, p. 168; and of the Old Testament 
(translated from the Greek), pp. 103-110, 165- 
167, 222-223. According to the same authority 
(p. 231), the calendar in the Vatican MS. must 

1 See Noldeke, in Z.D.M.G., xxii. (1868), p. 443 sq. 

2 MSS. Codd. Bihl. Apost. Vatic. Catalogus, ii. No. xix. 
p. 70 sq. 

3 N. Test. Verss. Syriacce Simplex, Philoxeniana, et 
Hierosolymitana, Copenhagen, 1789 ; see also Martin, 
Introd., p. 237 sq. 

* See Noldeke, loc. cit., pp. 521, 527; Land, Aiiecd. 
Syr., iv. pp. 227-229. 



NESTORIAN VERSION. 19 

have been drawn up about the middle of the 9th 
century. Few, if any, of the extant fragments 
appear to be of older date. Noldeke places the 
origin of the version in the 4th or 5th century, 
certainly not later than 600 {loc. cit, p. 525)^ 

All the above revisions of the text of the 
Syriac Bible according to the Greek are, as we 
have seen, the work of Monophysites, with the 
single exception of the last, which proceeded from 
the Malkites. The Nestorian community obsti- 
nately adhered to the old Peshitta, and the 
solitary attempt made to introduce a revised text 
among them seems to have been an utter failure. 
Mar~abha I.^, a convert from Zoroastrianism, who 
was catholicus from 536 to 552, went to Edessa, 
studied Greek there under a teacher named 
Thomas ^ and with his help translated the whole 
of the Old Testament into Syriac, and perhaps 
also the New. This statement rests on the 
authority of the author of the Kitdh al-Majdal 



1 The remaining literature in this dialect (all of it 
published by Land) consists of a few hymns (pp. 111-113), 
lives of saints (pp. 169, 170), and theological fragments 
(pp. 171-210). One fragment (p. 177) contains the title 
of a homily of John Chrysostom. [Several additions to 
this list are promised from Sinai MSS.] 

'^ Properly Mar(i)-abha. 

3 B.O., iii. 1, 86; compare ii. 411. 

2—2 



20 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

(Mari ibn Sulaiman\ about the middle of the 
12th century, supplemented and abridged by 
'Amr ibn Matta of Tirhan, who lived towards the 
middle of the 14th century) ^ of ' Abhd-isho', 
bishop of Nisibis (died 1318), and of Bar-Hebrseus 
(died 1286); and there appears to be no reason 
to doubt their word I 

Before quitting the subject of the versions of 
Holy Scripture we must devote a few words to 
the Massoretic MSS. of the Nestorians and Jaco- 
bites ^ In the year 1721 Assemani made mention 
in the Bibliotheca Orientalis (ii. 283), on the 
authority of Bar-Hebrseus in the Ausar Raze, of 
a " versio Karkaphensis, hoc est Montana, qua 
videlicet incolae montium utuntur^" About the 
meaning of these words scholars disputed, and 
some searched for MSS. of the alleged version, 

1 See p. 255, note. 

2 See Hoffmann, AuszUge aus syrisclien Akten 'persischer 
Marty rer, pp. 6, 7 [in Ahhandlungen fiir d. Kunde d. 
Morgenlandes vii. (Leipzig, 1880)]. 

3 See B.O., ii. 411-412, iii. 1, 75; Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. 
Eccles., ed. Abbeloos and Lamy, ii. 89; Martin, Introd., 
pp. 292-294. 

4 See Martin, Tradition Karhaphienne ou la Massore 
chez les Syriens, Paris, 1870 (from Journ. Asiat.), and 
Introd., pp. 276-291. 

5 In the Vatican Catalogue (vol. iii. 287, No. clii.) he 
translates the words akh mashlemdnuthd karkephditd by 
"juxta traditionem verticalem (!): hoc est, Montanorum 
in Phcenice et Mesopotamia degentium." 



MASSORETIC MANUSCRIPTS. 21 

but in vain. At last, N. Wiseman (afterwards 
cardinal), guided by the light of another passage 
in the Bibliotheca Orientalis (ii. 499, 500, No. 
xxii.), recognized in Cod. Vat. cliii. a copy of 
what he believed to be the Karkaphensian ver- 
sion ^ Later researches, more especially those of 
the Abbe Martin, have corrected these errors. 
The MSS. of the Karkaphensian tradition, of 
which there are ten in our European libraries, 
are now known to contain a philological and 
grammatical tradition of the pronunciation and 
punctuation of Holy Writ and sometimes of other 
writings 2. Syria was rich in schools and colleges; 
most of its towns possessed institutions where 
instruction was given, more especially to students 
of theology, in the reading and exposition of the 
Greek and Syriac Scriptures and their commen- 
tators. Such were the great " Persian school " of 
Edessa, which was destroyed, on account of its 
Nestorian tendencies, in 489 ; the school of 

1 See his Horce Syriacce, Rome, 1828, p. 78 : II. 
Symholw Philologicce ad Hist. Versionum Syriac. vet. 
foederis. Particula prima ; de versionibus ffeneratim, deinde 
de Peschito^ p. 147; III. Particula secunda ; recensionem 
KarJcaphensem nunc primum describens. We need not 
here indicate Wiseman's mistakes, but it is a pity to see 
them all reproduced even in the third edition of Scrivener's 
Plain Introduction.^ 1883. 

^ See Hoffmann, Opuscula Nestoriana, 1880, p. v. sq. 



22 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Nisibis ; of Mahoze near Seleucia ; of the monas- 
tery of Dor-Koni or Dair-Kunna ; of the monas- 
tery of Ken-neshre or the Eagles' Nest, on the 
left bank of the Euphrates, opposite Jerabis ; of 
the Daira 'Ellaita, or monastery of St Gabriel and 
St Abraham, at Mosul ; and many others i. Every 
such school or college had its teachers of reading 
and elocution, mahgeydne and makreyane (or 
makerydne), who taught their pupils to pronounce, 
add the vowel-points, and interpunctuate correct- 
ly^ before they were passed on to the higher 
classes of the eskolaye, hadhoke or mallephdne, 
that is, the professors of exegesis and doctors of 
theology^. The more difficult words and phrases 
of Scripture were gradually collected and written 
down so as to form "collectanea," lukkdte dha- 
shemdhe, or " fasciculi," kurrdse dha-shemdhe, and 
the union of these composed a kethdhhd dha- 
kerdydthd, or " book of readings," in which it was 

1 See, for example, B.O., iii. 1, 341, col. 2 at the foot, 
and iii. 2, cmxxiv. sq. 

2 Hoffmann, Optcsc. Nestor., p. vii. ; Martin, Introd., p. 289. 

3 Hoffmann, op. cit., pp. xx., xxi. What the whole 
curriculum of such a student should be, according to the 
mind of Bar-Hebrseus in the 13th century, may be seen 
from the B.O., iii. 2, 937-938 {Nomocanon, translated by 
J. A. Assemani, in Mai, Scriptt. Vett. Nova Coll., x. cap. vii. 
§ 9, pp. 54-56). [See also Merx, Historia artis grammaticce 
apud Syr OS (in Ahhandlungen fur die Kunde des Morgen- 
landes, vol. ix.).] 



MASSORETIC MANUSCRIPTS. 23 

shown by means of vowel-points and other signs 
how each word was to be pronounced and ac- 
centuated \ One such volume in the British 
Museum (Add. 12138, dated 899) represents the 
work of a Nestorian student in the convent of 
Mar Gabriel at Harran^; but the other MSS. 
extant in the different libraries of Europe^ are of 
Jacobite origin and have a common source, the 
scholastic tradition of the convent of Karkaphetha, 
or "the Skull," at the village of Maghdal or 
Mijdal near Resh-'aina or Ras-'ain^ Such are, 
for example, Cod. Vat., No. clii., now cliii., de- 
scribed by Assemani (CataL, iii. 287) and Wise- 
man (Horce Syr., p. 151); Cod. Paris, Ancien 
fonds 142, described by Zotenberg (Catal, p. 30, 
No. 64) and Martin (Tradition Karkaphienne, 
p. 36) ; Cod. Brit. Mus. Add. 7183, described by 
Rosen (Catal, p. 64, No. xlii.)^ and 12178, de- 
scribed by Wright (Catal., p. 108). From these 
and similar MSS., as well as from the words of 
Bar-Hebrseus", it appears that the Karkephaye 

1 Hoffmann, op. cit., pp. vi., vii. 

2 See Wright, Catal., p. 101, [Merx, op. cit. p. 30 sq., and 
a specimen in Studia Bihlica, iii. 93-95]. 

3 Martin, Introd., p. 291. 

4 Hoffmann, in Z.D.M.G., xxxii. (1878), p. 745; and in 
Stade's Zeitschrift filr d. Alttest. Wissenschaft, 1881, p. 159. 

^ [A specimen in Studia Bihlica, iii. 96.] 
<5 Martin, op. cit., pp. 122, 129. 



24 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

were the monks of the convent of Karkaphetha ; 
that they were Westerns or Occidentals, therefore 
Jacobites ; and that one of their chief authorities, 
if not the actual originator of the compilation, 
was Jacob bishop of Edessa. Accordingly, the 
marginal notes indicate various readings from 
Syriac MSS., from the LXX., and from the 
Harklensian version, as well as from different 
fathers and teachers \ To the collection of words 
and phrases from the Peshitta version is added in 
several of these MSS. a similar, though shorter, 
collection from the Harklensian version and from 
the principal works of the Greek fathers which 
were read in translations in the schools ^ followed 

1 See Wiseman, op. cit., p. 178; Martin, op. cit.^ pp. 76, 
77, 133; Rosen, Catal, pp. 65, QQ; Wright, Catal, p. 109. 

Among these occur Q-^ and tciCD. The investigations of 
Hoffmann (in Stade's Zeitschrift, 1881, p. 159) and Duval 

{Journ. Asiat, 1884, p. 560) have made it certain that Q-^ 
designates not the Peshitta, nor Jacob of Edessa, but one 
Tubhana (perhaps surnamed "the Beardless"), an eminent 
teacher at Eesh-'aina. His colleague Sabha was probably 
the famous scribe Sabha, who wrote Brit. Mus. Add. 
14428, 14430 (724), and 12135, ff. 1-43 (726). 

2 Namely, (Pseudo-)Dionysius Areopagita, Gregory 
Nazianzen (2 vols.), the works of Basil, the epistles of 
Gregory and Basil, John Philoponus (the AiaiTtjTijs), and 
Severus of Antioch {Homilice Cathedrales and certain 
synodical letters relating to the council of Antioch). A 
fuller list is given by Assemani, B. 0., iii. 2, cmxxxvii. sq. 



APOCRYPHA. 25 

by tracts on different points of orthography, 
grammar and punctuation \ 

We have spoken above (p. 5 sq.) of the deutero- 
canonical books of the Old Testament. Other 
apocrypha may now be noticed more briefly ; e.g., 
Ps. cli. (in the hexaplar version of Paul of Telia) ; 
the Parva Genesis, or Liber Juhikeorum, a frag- 
ment of which has been edited by Ceriani 
(Monumenta, vol. ii. fasc. 1, p. ix.); the Testament 
of Adam^; the History of Joseph and Asyath 
(Asenath), translated by Moses of AggeP; the 
History of Sanherib, his Vizir Ahikar or Hikar, 
and his Disciple Nadhan^. Many similar books 

1 See Phillips, A Letter of Mar Jacob, Bishop of Edessa, 
on Syriac OrtJiography, kc, 1869 (Appendix iii. p. 85-96, 
issued separately in 1870) ; Martin, Jacohi epi Edesseni 
Epistola ad Georgium epuin Sarugensem de Orthographia 
Syriaca, &c., 1869. [Compare also Merx, op. cit. chap, iii.] 

2 Wright, Catal., p. 1242; see Renan, in the Journ. 
Asiat., November and December 1853, p. 427, and Wright, 
Contributions to the Apoc7'yphal Literature of the New 
Testameiii, 1865, p. 61. [It is not given in the Syriac 
text of the Me^Cirath Gazze, but in the Arabic version, 
whence it has passed into the Ethiopic Clementines.] 

3 Wright, Catal., p. 1047; Land, Anecd. Syr., iii. 15-46. 

4 Wright, Catal., p. 1207, col. 1 ; Hoffmann, Ausziige 
aus syrischen Akten persischer Miirtyrer, p. 182 ; see for 
the Syriac text Brit. Mus. Orient. 2313, and a MS. in 
the collection of the S.P.C.K. (now presented by the 
Society to the university of Cambridge). [An addition to 
the above list is furnished by some apocryphal psalms, 



26 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

exist in Arabic, some of them probably translated 
from lost Syriac originals. The names of Daniel 
and Ezra " the scribe " are prefixed to late 
apocalyptic works S and even to almanacs con- 
taining prognostications of the weather, &c. ^ 
The list of apocrypha of the New Testament is 
also tolerably extensive. We may mention the 
Protevangelium Jacobi ; the Gospel of Thomas 
the Israelite, or of the Infancy of our Lord ; the 
Letters of Abgar and our Lord ; the Letters of 
Herod and Pilate ; prayers ascribed to St John 
the Baptist ; the Transitus, Assumptio, or Kot- 
fjLTjatf; Beatce Virginis, extant in four or five 
redactions^; Acts of the Apostles, such as St 
John, St Philip, St Matthew and St Andrew, 
St Paul and Thecla, and St Thomas^; the Doc- 
trine of St Peter ^; and the Apocalypse of St 

published by Wright in Proc. Soc. Bibl. Arch, ix, 
257-266.] 

1 Wright, CataL, pp. 9, 1065. 

2 Wright, Catal, p. 352, col. 2; Brit. Mus. Orient. 
2084, f. 1, Kethcihhd dhe-Shudhae dhe-zahhrn, dhe-DhdnVel 



3 Most of these are published in Wright's Contributions ; 
see also the Journal of Sacred Literature, 1865, vol. vi. 
417, vol. vii. 129 ; and B. H. Cowper, The Apocryphal 
Gospels, &c., 1867. 

* See Wright, Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, 2 vols., 
1871 ; [(Bedjan), Acta Martyrum et Sanctorum, Paris, 
1890-94]. 

5 Cureton, Ancient Syriac Documents, pp. 35-41. 



SERVICE-BOOKS. 27 

Paul \ Others of these apocrypha are extant in 
Arabic, but the Syriac originals have not yet been 
recovered. To these may be added such works as 
the Didascalia Apostolorum, edited (anonymously) 
by P. de Lagarde in 1854 ; extracts from the 
Gonstitutiones Apostolorum, ascribed to Clement, 
in the same editor's Reliquice Juris Eccles. Antiq., 
pp. 2-32, 44-60 ; and the Doctrina Apostolorum, 
in Cureton's Ancient Syriac Documents, pp. 24-35, 
and in Reliquice Juris Eccles. Antiq. (under the 
title of Doctrina Addcei), pp. 32-44. 

Into a description of the service-books of the 
Syrian Church in its different sects — Nestorians, 
Jacobites, Maronites, and Malkites — we cannot 
here enter I The bare enumeration of the various 
psalters, lectionaries, missals, &;c., would far exceed 

1 Translated by Zingerle in Heidenheim's Vierteljahrs- 
schrift^ iv. p. 139 sq., and by Perkins, Journal of the 
American Oriental Society, viii. p. 182 sq. ; reprinted in the 
Journal of Sacred Literature, January 1865, p. 372 sq. 

2 The reader is referred to the following works: 
J. A. Assemani, Codex Liturg. Ecclesice Univei'sce, 13 
vols., Rome, 1749-66; Renaudot, Liturgiarum Orient. 
Collectio, 2 vols., Paris, 1716; Etheridge, The Syrian 
Churches, their Early History, Liturgies, and Literature, 
London, 1846; Badger, The Nestorians and their Rituals, 
2 vols., London, 1852; Howard, The Christians of St 
Thomas and their Liturgies, Oxford, 1864; Denzinger 
Ritus Orientalium, Coptorum, Syrorum, et Ai-menoriim in 
administrandis sacrament is, 2 vols., Wiirzburg, 1863-64 ; 
J. Morinus, Comment, de Sacns Eccles. Ordinationihus, &c., 



28 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

our limits. The oldest Syriac psalter in our 
European collections is not earlier than 600 
(Brit. Mus. Add. 17110), and the series of lection- 
aries commences with the 9th century. Of ana- 
phorse or liturgies it would be easy to specify 
some sixty\ The oldest of all is a fragment 
of the anaphora of Diodorus of Tarsus (in the 
British Museum, Add. 14699, fif. 20, 21), of the 
6th century, which has been edited and translated 
by Bickelll 

Besides the versions of Holy Writ and other 
works enumerated above, the literature of Syria 
comprises a vast amount of matter, interesting 
not merely to the Orientalist but also to the 
classical scholar, the theologian, and the historian. 
Some portions of this literature we must now 
endeavour to pass under review. 

The long series of Syrian writers is headed by 
the name of Bar-Daisan or Bardesanes, " the last 
of the Gnostics I" He was born at Edessa on 

Paris, 1655, Antwerp, 1695; Bickell, Conspectus Rei Syro- 
rum Liter arice^ chaps, vii.-x. 

1 See a complete list in Bickell's Conspectus, pp. 65-68 ; 
comp. also Neale and Littledale's Liturgies of SS. Mark, 
James, &c., 2d ed., 1869, p. 146, and Appendix i. ; [Maclean, 
Liturgia 8anctorum Apostolorum Adaei et Maris, Urmi, 
1890]. 

2 See his Conspectus, pp. 63, 71-72. The Syriac text is 
given in Z.D.M.G., xxvii. (1873), pp. 608-613. 

^ See Merx, Bardesanes von Edessa, 1863 ; Hilgenfeld, 



BARDESANES. 29 

11th July 154^ and seems to have been the son 
of heathen parents of rank. Of the manner of his 
conversion to Christianity, and how he came to 
deviate from orthodoxy, we are uninformed. Part 
of his life he spent at the court of Edessa ; then 
he betook himself as a missionary to the rude 
mountaineers of Armenia, and finally settled 
down in the fortress of Anium, where he probably 
remained till his death in 222 2. He wrote, we 
are told, a History of Armenia, which Moses of 
Chorene used in a Greek translation ; Hypomne- 
mata Indica, compiled from the oral information 
which he obtained from an Indian embassy pass- 
ing through Edessa on its way to the Roman 
court ; and polemical treatises against the poly- 
theism of the heathens and the dualism of Marcion. 
He and his son Harmonius were poets, and their 
hymns were greatly admired and imitated. Even 
Ephraim could not help admitting their merits, 
whilst he reviled them^. Of these works, however, 
only a few fragments have been preserved by 

Bardesa7ies, der letzte GnostiJcer, 1864; Hahn, Bardesanes 
Gnosticus Sy7'07ntm primus Hymnologus^ 1819. 

1 So the Chronicon JSdessenum, in Assemani, B.O., i. 
389, and Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 47 ; but Elias of 
Nislbis, as cited by Abbcloos in his notes on Bar-Hebrseus, 
loc. cit., places his birth in 134. 

2 Bar-HebrseuSj Chron. Eccles.^ i. 47. 

3 E.g.^ Opera Sp\, ii. 439 D, 553 F, last line. 



30 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

later writers \ The famous dialogue Hepl elfjuap- 
/ii€V7)<; or De Fato, which the voice of antiquity has 
unanimously ascribed to Bardesanes, was in reality 
composed by his disciple Philip, and doubtless 
presents us with an accurate account of his 
master's teaching. The Syriac title is Kethabha 
dhe-Ndmose dh'Athrawathd (The Book of the 
Laws of the Countries) I 

Of Simeon bar Sabbae ("the Dyers' Son"), 
bishop of Seleucia and Ctesiphon, and Milles, 
bishop of Susa, we know little beyond the fact of 
their martyrdom in the great persecution of the 
Christians by Shabhor or Sapor II., which began 
in 339-3401 Simeon is said by 'Abhd-isho ^ to 
have written " epistles V' which seem to be no 

1 Compare the hymn in the Syriac Acts of St Thomas 
(Wright, Apocryphal Acts, p. 274) ; Lipsius, Die ApocrT/phen- 
Apostelgeschichten und -Apostellegenden, i. 292 sq. 

2 It was first edited by Cureton, with an English 
translation, in his Spicilegiitm Syriacum ; see also T. & 
T. Clark's Antc-Nicene Christian Library, vol. xxii. p. 85 
sq., and Merx, op. cit., p. 25 sq. 

^ See S. E. Assemani, Acta Sanctorum Martyrum, i. 
10 sq., 66 sq.; [(Bedjan), Acta Mart, et Sanct., ii. 128 sq., 
260 sq.l. 

* Or 'Ebedh-yeshu , bishop of Nislbis, whose biblio- 
graphical Catalogue has been edited by Abraham Ecchell- 
ensis, Rome, 1653, and by J. S. Assemani in his B.O., 
iii. 1. There is an English translation of it by Badger, 
The Nestorians, ii. 361-379. 

5 B.O., iii. 1, 51. 



JACOB OF NISiBIS. 31 

longer extant. To him are also ascribed sundry 
hymns ^, and a work entitled Kethabhd dKAhhd- 
hctthcl (The Book of the Fathers), which, according 
to Sachau, treats of the heavenly and earthly 
hierarchy-. The writings of Milles are stated by 
'Abhd-isho' (loc. cit.) to have been " epistles and 
discourses (memre) on various subjects " ; but of 
these time has also robbed us. 

The name of Jacob (or St James) of Nisibis^ 
is far more widely known. As bishop of that city 
he was present at the council of Nicaea. He lived 
to witness the outbreak of war between the 
Romans and the Persians, and is said to have 
delivered the city by his prayers from the latter 
power. He died in the same year (338)''. To 
him has been ascribed, on the authority of Genna- 
dius of Marseilles^ and of the ancient Armenian 

1 Assemani, Acta Sanctorum Mai'tyrum, i. 5 ; Rosen, 
Catalogue^ p. 14, col. 2, aa; Overbeck, 8. Epiiraemi, &c., 
Opei'a Selecta, p. 424. 

2 Kurzes Verzeichniss der Sacliaid sclien Sammlung syr- 
ischer Handschriften, Berlin, 1885, p. x. and No. 108, 3. 

^ Kai 2vpLr}s nedov eida Koi aarea irdvra, Nt(rt/3ii/, Ev(f)pd- 
rrjv dia^ds. Lightfoot, S. Ignatius, i, 480. 

4 This date is given by the Chronic. Edess. {B.O., i. 395), 
by Dionysius of Tell-Mahre {ibid., p. 17), by the so-called 
Liber Chalipharum (in Land, Anecd. Syr., i. 4), by Elias of 
Nisibis (see Abbeloos's note in Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., 
ii. 31), and inferentially by Ephraini (Bickell, S. Ephraemi 
Syri Carmina Nisibena, p. 20). 

^ In his De Viris Illustribus, written before 496. 



32 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

version \ a collection of homilies, the Syriac text 
of which has only been recovered and published 
within the last few years. George, bishop of the 
Arab tribes, writing to a friend in the year 714, is 
aware that the author was a certain "Persian 
sage," hakkwid Pharsaya, and discusses his date 
and position in the church^, but does not think of 
identifying him with Jacob of Nisibis. Later 
writers are better informed. Bar-Hebrseus knows 
the name of Pharhadh as the author-; 'Abhd- 
isho' gives the older form of Aphrahat or 'Acppad- 
T779^; and he is also cited by name by Elias of 
Nisibis (11th century) in his Chronicle^. The 
real author of the twenty-two alphabetical Homi- 
lies and the separate homily " On the Cluster " is 
now, therefore, known to have been Aphraates, a 
Persian Christian, who took the name of Jacob, 
and was subsequently famous as "the Persian 

1 Published by N. Antonelli (Kome, 1756) with a Latin 
translation, and reprinted in Gallandius, Bihl. Vet Patrum^ 
vol. v. The mistake has passed (no doubt through the 
Arabic) to the Ethiopia translation of the fifth homily ; 
see Zotenberg, Catal. des MSS. Ethiopiens de la Bihl. Nat., 
p. 248, col. 2, No. 17. 

2 See De Lagarde, Anal. Syr., p. 108; The Homilies 
of Aphraates, ed. Wright, p. 19 ; Kyssel, Ein Brief Georgs, 
Bischofs der Araber, 1883. 

3 Chron. Eccles., ii. 34. 

4 B.O., iii. 1, 85. 

5 See Wright, Aphraates, p. 38. 



APHRAATES. — EPHRAIM. 33 

sage." He was probably bishop of the convent of 
Mar Matthew near Mosul, and composed his works, 
as he himself tells us, in the years 387, 344, and 
345, during the great persecution under Sapor 11.^ 
A junior contemporary of Aphraates was Eph- 
raim^, commonly called Ephraem Syrus, "the 
prophet of the Syrians," the most celebrated 
father of the Syrian Church and certainly one of 
its most voluminous and widely read writers. He 
was born of heathen parents at Nisibis, but became 
the pupil of the bishop Jacob, and finished his 
education at Edessa. The incidents of his career 
are too well known to need recapitulation here I 
His death took place in June 373^. His works 

1 Wright, Aphraates^ pp. 440 and 507; comp. Sasse, 
Prolegomena in Aphr. Sap. Pers. Sermones Ifomileticos, 
1878; J. Forget, De Vita et Scriptis Aphr., Sap. Persce, 
1882 ; Bickell in Thalhofer, Bihliothek der Kirchenvdter^ 
102 and 103, where eight of the homiUes are translated. 
[All the homilies have been translated by Bert, in Von 
Gebhardt and Harnack's series of Texte imd UntersucJmn- 
gen, vol. iii., Leipzig, 1888.] 

2 More correctly Aplirem. 

3 See the Acta S. Ephraemi in the Roman ed. of his 
works by Peter Mobarak (Petrus Benedictus) and the 
Assemanis, pp. xxiii-lxiii ; and comp. Bickell, Conspectus^ 
p. 26, note 11. 

"* See the various authorities cited by Assemani, B.O.^ 
i. 54, note; Bickell, Cannina Nisibena, p. 9, note; Gabriel 
Cardahi, Liber Thesauri de Arte Poetica Syrorum, 1875, 
pp. 9-13. 

S. L. 3 



34 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

have been largely translated into Greeks Arme- 
nian, Coptic, ArabiC; and Ethiopicl They consist 
of commentaries on the Scriptures, expository 
sermons, and a vast mass of metrical homilies and 
hymns on every variety of theological subjects 
Many of these last are composed in his favourite 
seven-syllable metre, in stanzas of different length ; 
but he frequently used other metres and mixed 
strophic arrangements ^ Of Ephraim's commen- 
taries on the Old Testament but little has reached 
us in the original Syriac^ Most of what has been 
published in Ephraemi Opera Syr., vols. i. and ii., 

1 Even Photius speaks with respect of the rhetorical 
talent of Ephraim, so far as he could judge of it from 
these imperfect translations (ed. Bekker, p. 160). 

2 See^.O., i. 149 5^. 

3 Ibid., i. 63-149 ; iii. 1, 61. 

* Compare, for instance, Bickell, Carm. Nisih., Introd., 
p. 31. The Syrian line consists of a certain fixed number 
of syllables, four, five, six, seven, eight, twelve, &c. In 
the older writers there is no intentional rime, which first 
appears, we believe, among the Westerns, in Antonius 
Rhetor (9th century). Real metres, like those of the 
Greeks and Arabs, coupled in the latter case with rime, 
were wholly unknown to the Syrians. Hebrew poetry 
barely rises, as regards outward form, beyond the level of 
Arabic rimed prose ; the Syrians, whilst destitute of rime, 
at least imposed upon themselves the restraint of a limited 
but fixed number of syllables. 

5 Genesis and Exodus in Cod. Vat. ex., and five leaves 
of Genesis in Cod. Vat. cxx. (see Assemani, Catal., iii. 
p. 125). 



EPHRAIM. 35 

is derived from a large Catena Patrum, compiled 
by one Severus, a monk of Edessa, in 861 \ Of 
his commentary on the Dia-tessaron, preserved 
only in an early Armenian translation, we have 
spoken above (p. 9). In the same language 
there is extant a translation of his commentary 
on the Pauline epistles I Vol. ii. of the Roman 
edition contains some exegetical discourses (pp. 
316-395), the number of which has been largely 
increased by Overbeck (S. Ephraemi Syri, &;c., 
Opera Selecta, pp. 74-104). In the same work 
will be found two of the discourses against early 
heresies addressed to Hypatius and Domnus (pp. 
21-73 ; comp. Wright, CataL, p. 766, col. 2), two 
tracts on the love of the Most High (pp. 103-112), 
and the epistle to the monks who dwelt in the 
mountains (pp. 113-131). Of metrical writings 
the same book contains (pp. 339-354) the hymns 
against Julian the Apostate (pp. 1-20), and the 
conclusion of the hymns on Paradise (wanting in 
the Roman ed., vol. iii. 598) ^ Other metrical 

1 Cod. Vat. ciii., Brit. Miis. Add. 12144. Severus used 
for Genesis a commentary different from that in Cod. Vat. 
ex.; see Bickell, Conspectus, p. 19; comp. Pohlmann, 
S. Ephraemi Syri Commentariorum in s. scripturam te.vtus 
in codd. vatt. mamtscriptus et in edit. Rom. impressics^ 
2 parts, 1862-64. 

2 See Bickell, Conspectus, p. 20. 

2 The last hymn (p. 351) is genuine, as the very fact of 

3—2 



36 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

homilies were published by Zingerle^; but far 
more important, as having a real historical in- 
terest, are the Carmina Nisihena, or " Hymns 
relating to the City of Nisibis," edited by Bickell 
in 1866. These poems, which deal in great part 
with the history of Nisibis and its bishops and of 
adjacent cities (such as Anzit or Hanzit, Edessa, 
and Harran), were composed, according to Bickell 
(Introd., p. 6 sq), between the years 350 and 370 
or thereabouts^ A large quantity of hitherto 
unpublished matter is also contained in Lamy, 

its being an acrostic shows (see Bickell, Conspectus^ p. 19) ; 
whereas the metrical homily on the baptism of Constantine 
(pp. 355-361) is certainly spmious (Bickell, loc. cit.). 

1 S. P. Ephraemi Syri Serinones duo, Brixen, 1869 (see 
B.O., i. 149, col. 1, No. 31) ; Monumenta Syriaca ex Ro- 
manis Codd. collecta, i. 4 {B.O., loc. cit., No. 30). Zingerle 
has rendered many of Ephraim's works into German, e.g., 
Die heilige Muse der Syrer: Gesimge des h. Kirchenvaters 
Ephraem, 1833; Gescinge gegen die Griihler iiher die 
Geheimnisse Gottes, 1834 ; Festkrdnze aus Lihanons Garten, 
1846 ; Bes h. Kirchenvaters Ephraem ausgewahlte Schriften, 
aus d. Griechischen und Syrischen uebersetzt, 6 vols., 2d ed., 
1845-47 ; Bie Reden des h. Ephraem gegen die Ketzer, 1850 ; 
Reden des h. Ephraem des Syrers iiher Selhstverldugnung 
und ewisame Lehensweise, mit einem Briefe desselhen an 
Einsiedler, 1871. Translations into English have been 
attempted, though with less success, by Morris {Select 
Works of S. Ephraem the Syrian, 1847) and Burgess {Select 
Metrical Hymns and Homilies of Ephraem Syrus, 1853; 
The Repentance of Nineveh, &c., 1853). 

2 Comp. Bickell, Conspectus, p. 28, note 21. 



EPHRAIM. 37 

S. Ephraemi Syri Hymni et Sermones, vol. i., 1882, 
and vol. ii., 1886, — e.g., fifteen hymns on the 
Epiphany, a discourse on our Lord, several 
metrical homilies (in particular for Passion week, 
the Resurrection, and New or Low Sunday), 
hymns on the Passover or unleavened bread {De 
Azymis) and on the Crucifixion, acts of Ephraim 
from the Paris MS. Ancien fonds 144, commen- 
taries on portions of the Old Testament, other 
metrical homilies, and hymns on the nativity, the 
Blessed Virgin Mary, Lent, &c. [Vol. iii., 1889, 
contains a few homilies^ and many hymns, chiefly 
on martyrs, before unpublished. It also contains 
a re-edition of the poem on the history of Joseph 
in ten books (see below, p. 40).] The so-called 
Testament of Ephraim^ has been printed in the 
Ope7'a Grceca, ii. pp. 395-410 (with various 
readings at p. 433), and again by Overbeck (op. 
cit, pp. 137-156)'. 

Notwithstanding his vast fecundity and great 

1 [Noldeke has shown, in Wiener Zeitschrift fur die 
Kunde des Morgenlandes, iv. 245 sq.^ that the homily on 
Antichrist cannot be Ephraim's.] 

2 See B.O., i. 141, No. 8. 

3 That it has been interpolated by a later hand is 
shown by the long and purposeless digression on Moses 
and Pharaoh {Op. Or., ii. 405) and the story of Lamprotate 
at the end {ibid., p. 409), as also by the stanzas regarding 
the vine which Ephraim saw growing out of his mouth 
when he was an infant {ibid., p. 408). 



38 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

popularity as a theological writer, Ephraim seems 
not to have had any pupils worthy to take his 
place. In the Testament we find mentioned with 
high commendation the names of Abha, Abraham, 
Simeon, Mara of Aggel, and Zenobius of Gezirta^ 
to whom we may add Isaac ^ and Jacobs Two, 
on the other hand, are named with decided re- 
probation as heretics, namely, Paulonas {Ylav- 
Xcom?) or Paulinus {Ilav\lvo<^) and Arwadh or 
Arwat^ Of these, Abha is cited by later writers 
and compilers as the author of a commentary on 
the Gospels, a discourse on Job, and an exposition 
of Ps. xlii. 91 Paulonas or Paulinus is probably 
the same who is mentioned by 'Abhd-isho'^ as 
having written " madhrdshe or metrical homilies, 
discourses against inquirers, disputations against 
Marcion, and a treatise concerning believers and 
the creed." Zenobius, who was deacon of the 
church of Edessa, according to the same autho- 
rity', composed treatises against Marcion and 

1 B.O., i. 38, 144. 

2 Ibid., i. 165. 

3 See Wright, Catal, p. 992, col. 2, No. 36. 

4 Also written ^Qj5"i =Arnut and ^-.Jo] = Frit. 
See Overbeck's text, p. 147, and the variants, p. xxx. 
The name seems to have been hopelessly corrupted by the 
scribes. 

5 See Wright, Catal, pp. 831, col. 1, and 1002, col. 1. 

6 B.O., iii. 1, 170. 

7 Ihid.,\. 168; iii. 1,43. 



BALAI AND CYRILLONA. 39 

Pamphylius (?), besides sundry epistles. He was 
also the teacher of Isaac of Antioch, of whom we 
shall speak shortly. 

Better known than any of these disciples of 
Ephraim are two writers who belong to the close 
of this century and the beginning of the next, 
Balai and Cyrillona. The date of Balai or Balaeus, 
chorepiscopus (as it seems) of the diocese of 
Aleppo, is fixed by his being mentioned by Bar- 
Hebrseus^ after Ephraim, but before the time of 
the council of Ephesus (431). Acacius, bishop of 
Aleppo, whom he celebrates in one of his poems, 
must therefore, as Bickell says^ be the same 
Acacius who had a share in converting Babbiila 
to Christianity ^ and died at an extreme old age 
(it is said 110 years) in 432. His favourite metre 
was the pentasyllabic, which is known by his 
name, as the heptasyllabic by that of Ephraim, 
and the twelve-syllable line by that of Jacob of 
Serugh. Some of his poems have been edited by 
Overbeck in the often cited collection S. Ephraemi 
Syri, &c., Opera Selecta, pp. 251-336, namely, a 

1 In a passage cited by Assemani, B.O., i. 166. Cardahl 
(Liber Tkes., pp. 25-27) places Balai's death in 460, but 
gives, as usual, no authority. This seems too late. 

2 Conspectus, p. 21 ; Thalhofer, Bihliothek der Kirchen- 
vdter, 41, p. 68. 

3 Overbeck, S. Ephraemi S^ri, &c., Opera Selecta, p. 162, 
1. 20. 



40 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

poem on the dedication of the newly built church 
in the town of Ken-neshrin (Kinnesrin), five poems 
in praise of Acacius, the late bishop of Aleppo, 
the first and eighth homilies on the history of 
Joseph, specimens of prayers, and a fragment on 
the death of Aaron \ [The whole ten books on 
the history of Joseph w^ere published at Paris in 
1887, Histoire cle Joseph par Saint Ephrem (a 2nd 
edition in 1891), and also by Lamy in vol. iii. of 
Ephraim's works (see above).] Cyrillona com- 
posed a poem " on the locusts, and on (divine) 
chastisement, and on the invasion of the HunsV' 
in which he says : " The North is distressed and 
full of wars ; and if Thou be neglectful, Lord, 
they will again lay me waste. If the Huns, 
Lord, conquer me, why do I seek refuge with the 
martyrs ? If their swords lay me waste, why do I 
lay hold on Thy great Cross ? If Thou givest up 
my cities unto them, where is the glory of Thy 
holy Church ? A year is not yet at an end since 
they came forth and laid us waste and took my 
children captive ; and lo, a second time they 
threaten our land that they will humble it." 
Now the invasion of the Huns took place in 395 ^ 

1 See also Wenig, Schola Syriaca^ Chrestomathia, pp. 
160-162; Bickell, Conspectus, p. 46, note 5; Thalhofer, 
Bihliothek, 41, p. 67, and 44. 

2 See Wright, Catal, p. 671, col. 1, No. 5, a. 

^ See Chron. Edess. in B.O., i. 400, No. xl. ; Dionysius 



CYRILLONA. 41 

and this poem must have been written in the 
following year (396). The few remaining writings 
of Cyrillona, composed in various metres, have 
been edited by Bickell in the Z.D.M.G., xxvii. 
p. 566 sq., and translated by him in Thalhofer's 
Bihliothek, 41, pp. 9-63 \ Bickell- is inclined to 
identify this Cyrillona with another writer of the 
same period, 'Abhsamya, a priest of Edessa, 
Ephraim's sister's son and a pupil of Zenobius ; 
but his reasons do not seem to us sufficient. The 
Chron. Edess. (B.O., i. 401) states that 'Abhsamya 
composed his hymns and discourses on the in- 
vasion of the Huns in 404; and Dionysius of 
Tell-Mahre (B.O., i. 169) speaks of him in the 
year 397. Bar-Hebrseus is less precise as to the 
date : after mentioning the death of Chrysostom 
(in 407), he adds that about this time Theodore 
of Mopsuestia died (429) and ' Abhsamya flourished, 
who " composed many discourses in the (hepta- 
syllabic) metre of Mar Ephraim " on the invasion 

of Tell-Mahre, ibid., note 1 ; and an anonymous continuer 
of Eusebius in Land's A7iecd. Syr., i. 8, 1. 2. Joshua 
StyHtes (ed. Wright, p. 10, 1. 1) specifics A. Gr. 707, which 
began with October 395. 

1 See also Wright, Catal., pp. 670-671 ; Overbeck, 
S. Ephraemi, &c.. Opera Seleeta, pp. 379-381 ; Bickell, 
Conspectus, p. 34; Cardahl, Liher Thes., pp. 27-29, who 
places his death in 400. 

'^ See his Conspectus, p. 21 ; Thalhofer, Bihl., 41, pp. 13, 
16 (in the note). 



42 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

of the Huns\ That 'Abhsamya may have taken 
the name of Cyrillona at his ordination is of 
course possible, but it seems strange that none of 
these three writers should have mentioned it, if 
such were the case. On Bar-Hebrseus's statement 
regarding the metre which he used in his dis- 
courses we do not insist ; he might easily make a 
mistake in such a matter. 

During the latter part of the 4th century, too, 
there lived in the island of Cyprus the abbot 
Gregory, who appears to have been sent thither 
from some monastery in Palestine as the spiritual 
head of the Syriac-speaking monks in the islands 
He cherished friendly relations with Epiphanius, 
afterwards bishop of Salamis or Constantia (367- 
403), and a monk named Theodore. To these are 
addressed several of his discourses and letters ; 
others are general exhortations to the monks 
under his charge^. The discourses seem to be 
only portions of a work on the monastic life, 
which has not come down to us in a complete 
form, the " book " mentioned by 'Abhd-isho' in 
B.O., iii. 1, 191. In the letters he addresses 
Epiphanius as an older man speaking with autho- 
rity to a younger ; it is to be presumed, therefore, 

1 Bar-Hebroeus, Chron. Eccles.^ i. 133. 

2 See B.O., i. 170-171. 

3 Ibid., i. 172. 



MARTYROLOGIES. 43 

that they were written before Epiphanius became 
bishop. 

With the 5th century commences the native 
historical literature of Syria. Previous to this 
time there existed martyrologies and lives of 
saints, martyrs, and other holy men, drawn up, in 
part at least, to meet the requirements of the 
services of the church. Such are, for example, 
the ancient martyrology in a manuscript of 411^; 
the Doctrine of Addai, in its present shape a 
product of the latter half of the 4th century 2; 
the Hypomnemata of Sharbel ; and the Martyr- 
doms of Bar-samyd, Bishop of Edessa, and the 
Deacon Hahbibh, which all belong to about the 
same periods This sort of legendary writing 

1 Brit. Mus. Add. 12150, f. 252, edited by Wright in 
the Journal of Sacred Literature, 1865-66, viii. 45, 423; 
see the Acta Sanctorum, October, vol. xii. 183-185. It can 
hardly be later than the middle of the 4th century. 

2 Edited in part by Cureton, in his Ancient Si/riac 
Documents, from MSS, of the 5th and 6th centuries in the 
British Museum ; and in full by PhilUps from a MS. of the 
6th century at St Petersburg, 1876. See also Lettre 
d'Abgar ou Histoire de la Conversion des Edesse'ens, trans- 
lated from the Armenian version, Venice, 1868 ; Lipsius, 
Die Edessenische Ahgar-Sage, 1880 ; Matthes, Die Edesse- 
nische Ahgar-Sage, 1882; Mosinger, Acta SS. Martyrum 
Edessenorum Sarhelii, &c.. No. 1, 1874; [Tixeront, Les 
Origines de VEglise d'Edesse, Paris, 1888]. 

3 See Cureton, Anc. Syr. Doc, and Lipsius, Die Edess. 
Ahgar-Sage, p. 41 sq. 



44 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

was carried on to a much later date^ The 
History of Beth Selokh and its Martyrs, for 
instance, can hardly have been composed before 
the 6th century, if so early^; and the Acts of 
Marl must be still later ^ No larger collection of 
such documents had, however, been attempted 
before the time of Mariitha, bishop of Maiperkat'', 
a man of much weight and authority, who was 
twice sent by the emperor Theodosius II. on 
embassies to the Persian monarch Yazdegerd I., 
and presided at the councils of Seleucia or 
Ctesiphon, under the catholics Isaac and Yabh- 

1 See Hoffmann, Auszuge aus syr. Akten pers. Miirtyrer. 
[A large collection of martyrdoms of different dates is con- 
tained in (Bedjan's) Acta Martyrum et Sanctorum, of which 
vols, i.-iv., Paris, 1890-94, have thus far appeared. Other 
Syriac martyrdoms are to be found in Analecta Bollandiana. 
See also Budge, The Martyrdom of Isaac of Tiphre (in 
Trans. Soc. Bibl. Archseo. ix. 74-111) ; Amiaud, La 
Legende Syriaque de Saint Alexis, Paris, 1889; Feige, Die 
Oeschichte des Mar 'Ahhdiso, &c., Kiel, 1890 ; and Noldeke's 
paper on Some Syria7i Saints in Sketches from Eastern 
History (Eng. trans, published by A. & C. Black, 1892).] 

2 See Mosinger, Monumenta Syr., ii. 63, and Hoffmann, 
op. cit., p. 45. 

3 See Abbeloos, Acta S. Maris, 1885, p. 47, where, as 
Noldeke has pointed out, the writer confounds Ardasher, 
the first king of the Sasanian dynasty, with the last king 
of that line, Yazdegerd III., who was overthrown by the 
Arabs in the battle of Nihawand, a.h. 21 (642 a.d.). 

* Called by the Greeks Martyropolis, in Syriac Medhl- 
nath Sahde, and by the Arabs Maiyafarikin* 



MARUTHA OF MAI PERK AT. 45 

alaha respectively^ He is said, too, to have been 
a skilful physicians To him 'Abhd-isho' assigns 
the following works^ — "A book of martyrdoms, 
anthems and hymns on the martyrs, and a trans- 
lation of the canons of the council of Nicaea, with 
a history of that council." The last named of 
these he undertook at the request of Isaac, 
catholicus of Seleucia, who died in 41 6 ^ The 
canons which pass under his name are those of 
the council of Seleucia in 4101 But his great 
work was the Book of Martyrs, containing ac- 
counts of those who suffered for the Christian 
faith under Sapor XL, Yazdegerd I., and Bahram 
v., to which he prefixed two discourses on the 
glory of the martyrs and on their torments. One 
of these narratives claims to have been recorded 
by an eye-witness, Isaiah, the son of Hadhbo (or 
Hadhabhu), of Arzan (Ap^avrjvrj), one of the 
Persian king's horsemen ^ Portions of this work 
survive in the British Museum in MSS. of the 

1 See B.O., i. 174 sq. ; Bar-Hebr£eu«, Chron. Eccles., 
i. 121, ii. 45, 49. 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 73, and note 4. 

3 Ibid., loc. cit. 

4 Ibid., i. 195. 

5 See Lamy, Concilium Seleucia; et Ctesipfionti habit um 
anno 410 ; comp. S. E. Assemani, Codd. MSS. Orient. Bib/. 
Palat. Medic, p. 94. 

6 B.O.. i. 15. 



46 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

5th and 6th centuries, as well as in some of later 
date both there and in the Vatican. They have 
been edited by S. E. Assemani in the first volume 
of the Acta Sanctorum Martyrum, 1748\ The 
commentary on the Gospels mentioned by Asse- 
mani is really by Marutha, the maphrian of 
Taghrith (Tekrit), who is also the author of the 
anaphora or liturgy 2. Of him we shall have 
occasion to speak afterwards (see p. 136 infra). 
It is possible too that some of the above-men- 
tioned Acts may belong not to the work of 
Marutha but to that of Aha, the successor of 
Isaac in the see of Seleucia, who likewise wrote a 
history of the Persian martyrs and a life of his 
teacher 'Abhda, the head of the school in the 
monastery of Dor-Koni or Dair-Kunna (where the 
apostle Mari was buried)^. 

About this time evil days came upon the 
Christian church in Syria. Paul of Samosata, 
Diodore of Tarsus, and Theodore of Mopsuestia 
had paved the way for Nestorius. The doctrines 
of these writers were warmly espoused by many 
of the Syrian theologians ; and the warfare raged 

1 See also B.O.^ i. 181-194. There is a German trans- 
lation by Zingerle, Echte Aden cler h. Martyr er des Morgen- 
landes, 2 vols., 1836. 

2 B.O., i. 179. 

3 Ihid., ii. 401, ill. 1, 369; also Abbeloos, ^c^a S. Maris, 
pp. 72 sq., 88. 



NESTORIAN SCHISM. — RABBULA. 47 

for many years in and around Edessa, till it ended 
in the total destruction of the great Persian 
school by the order of the emperor Zeno (488- 
489) \ Rabbula, a native of Ken-neshrin (Kin- 
nesrin), whose father was a heathen priest but his 
mother a Christian, was converted to Christianity 
by Easebius, bishop of Ken-neshrin, and Acacius, 
bishop of Aleppo. He voluntarily gave up all his 
property, forsook his wife, and became a monk in 
the convent of Abraham near his native city. 
On the death of Diogenes, bishop of Edessa, he 
was appointed his successor (411-412). His 
admiring biographer depicts him as a model 
bishop, and he certainly appears to have been 
active and energetic in teaching and preaching 
and attending to the needs of the poor 2. In the 
theological disputes of the day he seems at first 
to have sided, if not with Nestorius, at least 
with those who were averse to extreme measures, 
such as John, patriarch of Antioch, and his 
partisans ; but afterwards he joined the opposite 
party, and became a warm champion of the doc- 
trines of Cyril, which he supported at the council 
of Edessa (431). From this time onward he was 

1 B.O., i. 353, 406. 

2 See his biography in Overbeck, >S'. Ephraemi, &c., 
Opera Selecta^ p. 159 55-., especially pp. 170-181; translated 
by Bickell, in Thalhofer's Bihliothek, Nos. 102-104. 



48 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

a staunch opponent of Nestorianism, and even 
resorted to such an extreme measure as burning 
the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia. Hence 
Ibas in his letter to Mari speaks of him as " the 
tyrant of Edessa," and Andrew of Samosata, 
writing to Alexander of Hierapolis in 432, com- 
plains bitterly of his persecution of the orthodox 
{i.e., the Nestorians). He died in August 435 \ 
Of the writings of Rabbula but little has come 
down to us. There is a sermon extant in manu- 
script-, enjoining the bestowing of alms on behalf 
of the souls of the dead and prohibiting all 
feasting on the occasion of their commemoration. 
Another sermon, preached at Constantinople, is 
directed against the errors of Nestoriusl There 
are also extant canons and orders addressed to the 
monks and clergy of his diocese ^ and a number of 
hymns, of which Overbeck has printed some 
specimens^ He also rendered into Syriac Cyril's 
treatise De Recta in Dominum nostrum J. C. Fide 
ad Theodosium Imperatorem^ from a copy which 



1 B.O., i. 403. 

2 Codd. MSS. Orient. Bihl Palat. Medic, p. 107. 

2 See Overbeck, S. Ephraemi, &c., Opera Selecta, pp. 
239-244 ; translated by Bickell. 

4 Ibid., pp. 210-221. 

5 Ibid., pp. 245-248, 362-378. 

6 See Wright, CataL, p. 719. 



RABBULA. — IBAS 49 

was sent to him by the author ^ His biographer 
intended to translate into Syriac a collection of 
forty-six of his letters, written in Greek " to 
priests and emperors and nobles and monks-"; 
but of these only a few remain, e.g., to Andrew of 
Samosata, condemning his treatise against the 
twelve anathemas of CyriP; to Cyril, regarding 
Theodore of Mopsuestia^; and to Gemellinus of 
Perrhe, about certain monks and other persons 
who misused the sacred elements as ordinary 
foodl 

Rabbula was succeeded in the see of Edessa 
(435) by Ihibha or Hibha (Grsecized Ibas)^ who 
in his younger days had been one of the trans- 
lators of Theodore's works in the Persian school". 
This, with his letter to Mari the Persian^ and 
other utterances, led to his being charged with 
Nestorianism. He was acquitted by the two 
synods of Tyre and Beirut, but condemned by 

1 Comp. the letter of Cyril to Rabbfila, Overbeck, op. 
cit., pp. 228-229. 

2 See Overbeck, op. cit., p. 200. 

3 Ihid., p. 222. 

* Ibid.., p. 223, a fragment. 

5 Ibid., pp. 230-238. The shorter fragment should 
follow the longer one. 

6 B.O., i. 199. 

7 Ibid., iii. 1, 85 ; Wright, Catal, pp. 107, col. 2, 644, 
col. 1. 

^ See Labbe, ConciL, ix. 51 ; Mansi, vii. 241. 

S. L. 4 



50 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

the second council of Ephesus (449)^ and Nonnus 
was substituted in his room. He was restored, 
however, at the end of two years by the council 
of Chalcedon, and sat till October 457, when he 
was succeeded by Nonnus 2, who in his turn was 
followed by Cyrus in 471. Besides the writings 
above-mentioned, 'Abhd-isho' attributes to Ibas^ 

1 The so-called Xrja-TpiKrj avvodos or latrocinium Ephesi- 
num. Of the first session of this council a portion is 
extant in Syriac in Brit. Miis. Add. 12156, fF. 51b-61a 
(written before 562), containing the acta in the cases of 
Flavian of Antioch and Eiisebius of Doryleeum. Add. 
14530 (dated 535) contains the second session, comprising 
the acta in the cases of Ibas, his nephew Daniel of Harran, 
Irenreus of Tyre, Aqiiilinus of Byblus, Sophronius of Telia 
or Constantina, Theodoret of Cyrrhus, and Domnus of 
Antioch. These documents have been translated into 
German by Hoftmann, Verhandlimgen der Kirchenver- 
samnilung zu Ephesus am xxii. August cdxlix., &c., 1873; 
into French by Martin, Actes du Brigandage d^Ephese, 1874 ; 
and into English (with the assistance of a German scholar) 
by the Rev. S. G. F. Perry, The Second Synod of Ephesus^ 
1881. See also Martin, Le Pseudo-Synode connu dans 
VHistoire sous le nom de Brigandage d^Ephese, &c., 1875; 
and Perry, An Ajicient Syriac Document purporting to he the 
record in its chief features of the Second Synod of Ephesus, 
&c., part i., 1867. Mr Perry printed a complete edition of 
the Syriac text at the Clarendon Press, Oxford, but no one 
seems to know what has become of the copies. The copies 
of the English translation were purchased at the sale of 
Mr Perry's library by Mr Quaritch. 

2 B.O., i. 257. 

3 Ihid., iii. 1, 86. These are of course utterly ignored 
by Assemani in vol. i. 



ACACIUS OF AMID. 51 

"a commentary on Proverbs, sermons and metrical 
homilies (madhrdshe), and a disputation with a 
heretic " ; but none of these appear to have come 
down to us. 

During this stormy period the name of Acacius, 
bishop of Amid, is mentioned as the author of 
certain epistles \ The great event of his life, 
which is referred by Socrates (bk. vii. 21) to the 
year 422, is thus briefly recorded in the Martyro- 
logium Romanum Gregorii XIII. (Malines, 1859), 
9th April : " Amidse in Mesopotamia sancti Acatii 
episcopi, qui pro redimendis captivis etiam ecclesiae 
vasa conflavit ac vendidit." The said captives 
were Persian subjects, who were thus ransomed 
and sent back to their king and country^. Acacius 
was doubtless a favourer of Nestorianism, for his 
letters were thought worthy of a commentary by 
Mari, bishop of Beth Hardasher^, the corre- 
spondent of Ibas*. 

About the same time rose one of the stars of 
Syriac literature, Isaac, commonly called the 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 51. 

2 Ihid., i. 195-196. 

3 Beth Hardasher or Beth Hartasher, in Persian "\Yeh- 
Ardasher or Beh-Ardasher, Arabicized Bahuraslr, close by 
Seleucia, on the right bank of the Tigris. See Hoffmann, 
Verhandlungen der Kirchenversammlung zu Ephesus, &c., 
p. 93, note 160. 

^ 2?.0., iii. 1, 172. 

4—2 



52 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Great, of Antioch\ He was a native of* Amid, 
but went as a young man to Edessa, where he 
enjoyed the teaching of Zenobius, the disciple of 
Ephraim-. Thence he removed to Antioch, w^here 
he lived as priest and abbot of one of the many 
convents in its immediate neighbourhood. In his 
younger days he would seem to have travelled 
farther than most of his countrymen, as it is 
stated that he visited Rome and other cities =^. 
With this agrees what is recorded by Dionysius of 
Tell-Mahre* as to his having composed poems on 
the secular games celebrated at Rome in 404, and 
on the capture of the city by Alaric in 410, which 
shows that he took a more than ordinary interest 
in the \Yestern capital. Isaac died in or about 

1 B.O., i. 207-234; Bickell, in Thalhofer's Bibliothek, 
No. 44, and Conspectus, p. 22. 

2 That he is identical with Isaac, the disciple of 
Ephraim (as some have supposed), seems wholly unlikely. 
He may possibly have seen Ephraim in the flesh, but this 
is very doubtful, considering the date of his own death. 
Even Jacob of Edessa appears to have got into some 
confusion on this subject (see Wright, Catal., p. 603, 
col. 2). 

3 Land, Anecd. Sp\, iii. 84. 

^ B.O., i. 208-209 ; see Dionysii Telmahharensis Ckronici 
liber /., ed. TuUberg, 1850, p. 52, and Eusehii Canonum 
Epitome ex Dionysii Tehn. Chronico petita, by C. Siegfried 
and H. Gelzer, 1884, p. 29. The difficulty was first cleared 
up by Scaliger, who in his Thesaurus Temporu7n, Animadv. 
No. MDLXiv., proposed a-rjKkapiav. 



ISAAC OF ANTIOCH. 53 

460, soon after the destruction of Antioch by the 
earthquake of 459, on which he wrote a poem\ 
Isaac's works are nearly as voluminous and varied 
as those of Ephraim, with which indeed they are 
often confounded in MSS. and in the Roman 
edition 2. They were gathered into one corpus 
by the Jacobite patriarch John bar Shiishan or 
Susanna, who began in his old age to transcribe 
and annotate them, but was hindered from com- 
pleting his task by death (1073)^ Assemani has 
given a list of considerably more than a hundred 
metrical homilies from MSS. in the Vatican^ Of 
these part of one on the Crucifixion was edited 
by Overbeck'^ and another on the love of learning 
by Zingerle^. But it has been left to Bickell to 
collect and translate all the extant writings of 
this Syrian father and to commence the publi- 
cation of them. Out of nearly 200 metrical 

1 B..0., i. 211. 2 gee Bickell, Conspectus, p. 23, note. 

3 B.O., i. 214-215, ii. 355; Bar-Hebrceus, Chron. Eccles., 
i. 447. 

* B.O., i. 214-234. 

^ S. Ephraemi Syri^ &c., Opera Selecta., pp. 379-381. 
[This homily may be Cyrillona's or Balai's : see above, 
p. 41, n. 1, and Bickell in Z.D.M.G., xxvii. p. 571, n. 1.] 

" Monumenta Syriaca., i. 13-20; see also some extracts 
in Zingerle's Chrestom. Syr., pp. 299 sq., 387 sq. Zingerle has 
translated large portions of the homilies on the Crucifixion 
into German in the Tiihinger Theolog. Quartalschrift, 
1870, 1. Fm-ther, Cardahi, Liber Thes., pp. 21-25. 



54 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

homilies his first volume contains in 307 pages 
only fifteen, and his second brings us in 353 pages 
only as far as No. 37 ^ Some of these poems 
have a certain historical value, such as the second 
homily on fasting, probably written soon after 
420% the two homilies on the destruction of the 
town of Beth Hur by the Arabs (c. 457)^ and the 
two against persons who resort to soothsayers^ 
Others possess some interest as bearing on the 
theological views of the author, who combats the 
errors of Nestorius and Eutychesl One of the 
longest and most wearisome is a stupendous poem 
of 2137 verses on a parrot which proclaimed aytof; 
6 ©eo9 in the streets of Antioch''. Another on 
repentance runs to the length of 1929 verses. In 
prose Isaac seems to have written very little ; at 
least Bickell'' mentions only "various questions 
and answers, an ascetic narrative and ascetic rules." 
Concerning Isaac's contemporary Dadha we 
know but little I He was a monk from the 

1 S. Isaaci Antiocheni, Doctoris Syrorum, Opera Omnia, 
ed. G. Bickell, part i., 1873; part ii., 1877. We hope soon 
to receive the remaining parts at his hands. 

2 5. a, i. 227; Bickell, i. 280. 

3 B.O., i. 225; Bickell, i. 207, 227. 

4 Bickell, ii. 205 sq. 

^ See Bickell's translations in Thalhofer's Bihliothek, 44. 
^ Bickell, i. 85. '' Opera, i. p. viii. 

^ See Land, Anecd. Syr., iii. 84. 



SIMEON THE STYLITE. 55 

neighbourhood of Amid, who was sent by the 
people of that city to Constantinople on account 
of the ravages of war and famine, to obtain 
remission of the taxes or some similar relief, and 
was well received by the emperor. He is said 
to have written about three hundred tracts on 
various topics connected with the Scriptures and 
on the saints, besides poems {madhrashe). 

Here, too, we may record the name of Simeon 
the Sty lite, who died in 459 or soon after \ 
The Monophysites contend that he held their 
theological views, and accordingly we find in a 
MS. of the 8th century a letter of his to the 
emperor Leo regarding Theodoret of Cyrrhus, 
who had come to him and tried to pervert him 
to the opinions of the Dyophysites^ and in 
another MS., of about the same age, three letters 
to the emperor Leo, to the abbot Jacob of 
Kaphra Rehima, and to John L, patriarch of 
Antioch, all tending to prove that he rejected 
the council of Chalcedon^. A third MS., of the 
6th century, contains certain " precepts and 
admonitions" addressed by him to the brethren^ 

1 See Bar-Hebrceus, Chron. Eccles., i. 142, 181, and note 
2; B.0.,'\. 252, 405. 

2 Wright, Catal, p. 951, No. xxix. 

3 Ihid., p. 986, No. 33. 
-* Ibid., p. 1153, col. 1. 



56 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

There is extant in very old MSS.^ a Life of 
Simeon, full of absurd stories, which has been 
edited by S. E. Assemani in the Acta Sanctorum 
Martyrum, vol. ii. 268 sq. ; [and again (from 
Brit. Mus. Add. 14484) in (Bedjan's) Acta 
Martyrum et Sanctorum, vol. iv. 507 sq.]. At 
the end of it there is a letter by one Cosmas^ 
priest of the village of Panir, written in the name 
of his congregation to the Stylite, promising im- 
plicit obedience to all his precepts and orders, 
and requesting his prayers on their behalf; but 
there is nothing whatever to show that this Cosmas 
was the author of the Life or had any share in 
writing it^ 

About this time we find Dadh-isho', the 
catholicus of Seleucia (421-456)^ composing his 
commentaries on the books of Daniel, Kings, 
and Bar-Sira or Ecclesiasticus^ But the chief 
seat of Nestorian scholarship and literary activity 
was still the Persian school of Edessa, where 

1 E.g., Cod. Vat. clx., transcribed 473 ; Brit. Mus. Add. 
14484, of the 6th century. 

2 B.O., i. 237. 

3 Assemani is also mistaken in supposing that the Life 
was composed at the request of Simeon, the son of Apol- 
lonius, and Bar-Hatar (?), the son of Udhan (Uranius?). 
These are merely the persons who paid for the writing of 
this portion of Cod. Vat. clx. 

^ See Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 57, note 1. 
5 B.O., iii. 1, 214. 



BAR-SAUMA OF NISIBIS. 57 

Bar-sauma and other teachers were actively 
engaged in defending and propagating their 
peculiar tenets. Bar-sauma, if we may believe the 
scurrilous Monophysite Simeon of Beth Arsham^ 
was originally the slave of one Mara of Beth 
Kardu.2, and bore at Edessa the nickname of 
Sahe beth kenaiyd^. He was at Edessa in 449, 
when his expulsion was called for by the rabbled 
In w^hat year it actually took place we do not 
know, but we afterwards find him busy in the 
East under the catholicus Babhoyah or Babuaeus 
(from about 457 to 483)^ and his successor 
Acacius (from about 484 to 496), during which 
period he was bishop of Nisibis^ Of his personal 
character and work this, is not the place to 
attempt to form a judgment ; but the reader 

1 B.O., i. 351. 

2 On the left bank of the Tigris, over against Jazirat 
Ibn 'Omar. 

3 " The Swimmer, or Bather, among the Reeds," mean- 
ing "the wild boar." See Hoftmann, Verhandl.d. Kirchen- 
versam. zu EphesuSy &c., p. 91, note 114. 

•* Hoffmann, op. cit., p. 14; Bar-Hebrceus, Chron. Eceles., 
ii. 55, note 1, 

^ Bar-Hebroeus, Chron. Ecdes., ii. 57, note 1. 

<5 See B.O., iii. 1, 66, note 7, compared with i. 351, 
note 4, and ii. 407, note 2. [Giiidi has shown from the 
Syriac Synodicimi that Bar-sauma was bishop of Nisibis in 
485 but that his successor Hosea was in office in 496 
{Z.D.M.G., xliii. 412; Gli statuti della Scuola di Sisibi, 
Rome, 1890, p. 3).] 



58 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

should beware of placing implicit trust in the 
statements of bitter and unscrupulous theological 
opponents like Simeon of Beth Arsham, Bar- 
Hebrseus, and Assemani. Bar-sauma does not 
appear to have written much, as 'Abhd-isho'^ 
mentions only parsenetic and funeral sermons, 
hymns of the class called turgdme^-, metrical 
homilies (madhrdshe), letters, and an anaphora 
or liturgy. 

A fellow-worker with him both at Edessa 
and Nisibis was Narsai (or Narse), of Ma'alletha 
or Ma'althaya^ whom Simeon of Beth Arsham 
calls '' the Leper^" whereas his co-sectarians style 
him "the Harp of the Holy Spirit." He was 
especially famous as a writer of hymns and other 
metrical compositions, his favourite metre being 
that of six syllables ^ He fled from Edessa to 
escape the wrath of the bishop Cyrus (471-498), 
probably in the year 489, and died at Nisibis 
early in the next century*^. Narsai's works, as 

1 B.O., ill. 1, 66. 

2 See Badger, The iVestorians, ii. 19. 

2 HoflPmann, Aiisziige, p. 208; Badger, The Nestorians, 
i. 174. 

^ Perhaps in a spiritual sense only, though Assemani 
thinks otherwise; see B.O., i. 352 and note 5, 354 ; iii. 1, 63. 

5 B.O., iii. 1, 65, note 6. 

^ See Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 77; B.O., ii. 
407. 



NARSAI AND OTHER NESTORIANS. 59 

enumerated by 'Abhd-ish6'\ consist of commen- 
taries on the first four books of the Pentateuch, 
Joshua, Judges, and Ecclesiastes, Isaiah and the 
twelve minor prophets, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and 
Daniel, twelve volumes of metrical discourses (360 
in number)^ a liturgy, expositions of the order 
of celebrating the Eucharist and of baptism, 
parsenetic and funeral sermons, hymns of several 
sorts 2, and a book entitled On the Corruption of 
Morals. 

Mari the Persian has been already mentioned 
as the correspondent of Ibas. Besides the com- 
mentary on the epistles of Acacius (see above, 
p. 51), he wrote a commentary on the book of 
Daniel and a controversial treatise against the 
magi^ of Nisibis^ Acacius, catholicus of Seleucia 

1 B.O., ill. 1, 65, 66. 

2 Some of these are probably contained in the Berhn 
MSS. Sachau 174-176 {memre dha-medhahherdniithd , on 
the life of our Lord) and 219 (two poems on Joseph, and 
two others), 

3 Two of them are often found in the Nestorian Psalter. 
See, for example, Brit. Mus. Add. 7156 (Rosen, Catul.^ 
p. 12, col. 2, No. 3a, c) and Add. 17219 (Wright, Catal, 
p. 134, col. 2, No. 3 a, c). 

^ 3Ieghushe, from magu, mag, the Persian priesthood, 
the head of whom in each district was the magupat, 
mogpet, or mohedh. See Noldeke, Geschichte der Perser 
itnd Araber zur Zeit der Sasaniden, p. 450. 

" B.O., iii. 1, 171. 



60 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

(c. 484-496), composed discourses on fasting and 
on the faith, as also against the Monophysites, 
and translated into Persian for the king Kawadh 
a treatise on the faith by Elisha, bishop of Nisibis, 
the successor of Bar-sauma\ Assemani tries hard 
to cleanse Acacius from the stain of Nestorianism, 
but, as Abbeloos remarks^, " vereor ne ^Ethiopem 
dealbare voluerit ; nam omnia tum Jacobitarum 
tum Nestorianorum monumenta, quse ipse recitat, 
contrarium testantur." Mikha or Micah, another 
member of the band of exiled Edessenes^ became 
bishop of Lashom*. He wrote a commentary on 
the books of Kings, a discourse on his predecessor 
Sabhr-isho', another on a person whose name is 
written Kntropos^ and a tract entitled The Five 
Reasons of the Mautebhe^. To these writers may 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 389. Elisha is called by some authorities 
Hosea; ibid., ii. 407, iii. 1, 429. [So the Syriac Synodicon 
as cited by Guidi in Z.D.M.G., xliii. 412, and Gli statuti 
delta Scuola di jVisibi, p. 3,] 

2 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 74, note 2. 

3 B.O., i. 352-353. His enemies gave him the nickname 
of Dagon. 

'^ Now Lasim, a short distance south-west of Dakuk or 
Ta'uk, in Beth Garmai ; see Hoffmann, Aiisziige, p. 274. 

'" Vocalized Kentropos or Kantropos; B.O., iii. 1, 
170, 1. 2. 

Meaning probably the division of the Psalter into 
three kathismata (Bickell, Conspectus, p. 92); see B.O., iii. 
1, 71, note 2. 



TRANSLATIONS FROM GREEK. 61 

be added two others, — Yazidadh^ who is also 
said to have belonged to the Edessene school and 
to have compiled "a book of collectanea (lukkdte)- ," 
and Ara, who wrote a treatise against the magi 
or Persian priesthood, and another against the 
followers of Bardesanes with the contemptuous 
title of Habhshoshyathcl or " the Beetles^" 

The Persian school at Edessa was, as we have 
already hinted, the chief seat of the study of 
Greek during the early days of the Syrian litera- 
ture. Of the most ancient translators we know 
nothing ; but the oldest MSS. are Edessene, viz., 
the famous MS. in the British Museum, Add. 
12150, dated towards the end of 411, and the 
equally well known codex at St Petersburg, 
written in 462. The former contains the Recog- 
nitiones of Clement, the discourses of Titus of 
Bostra against the Manichees, the Theophania of 
Eusebius, and his history of the confessors in 
Palestine ; the latter, the Ecclesiastical History 
of Eusebius. Now, as the text presented by 
these MSS. has evidently passed through the 
hands of several successive scribes, it seems to 

1 For Yazed-dadh or Izad-dadh, like Yazed-panah, 
Yazed-bozedh ; see Hoffmann, Auszuye, p. 88, note 796. 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 226. 

3 Of Ara we seem to know absolutely nothing; his 
very Jloruit is uncertain, and he may have belonged to the 
previous century; B.O., iii. 1, 230. 



62 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

follow that these books were translated into Syriac 
in the lifetime of the authors themselves, or very 
soon after, for Eusebius died in 340 and Titus 
in 371. Very likely the one or the other may have 
had a friend at the chief seat of Syriac learning 
who was willing to perform for him the same kind 
ofEce that Rabbiila undertook for Cyril ^ A little 
later on our information becomes fuller and more 
exact. Ma'na^ a Persian by race^ from the town 
of Beth Hardasher, was resident at Edessa in the 
earlier part of the 5th century, and is mentioned 
by Simeon of Beth Arsham among the distin- 
guished Nestorian scholars whom he holds up to 
ridiculed His nickname was Blidthe ketma, " the 

1 See above, p. 48, and compare Merx, " De Eusebianse 
Historise Eccles. Versionibus, Syriaca et Armeniaca," in 
Atti del IV. Congresso Inte7mazionale degli Orientalist^ 
Florence, 1880, i. 199 sq., especially pp. 201-202. It may 
here be mentioned that the literature of Armenia is largely 
indebted in its earliest days to that of Syria, not only for 
the translation of Eusebius's Eccles. History, but for such 
works as the Doctrine of Addai and the Homilies of 
Aphraates, wrongly ascribed to Jacob of Nislbis. 

2 So the name is written by Mari bar Shelemon, whom 
Assemani follows, B.O, iii. 1, 376, pronouncing it, however, 
Ma'ne or Maanes. Elias of Nislbis also gives Ma'na (Bar- 
Hebreeus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 53, note 2); but Bar-Hebraeus 
himself {loc. cit.) has Maghna, which Abbeloos latinizes 
Magnes. 

3 His Persian name is unknown to us. 
^ B.O., i. 352. 



MA'XA. 63 

Drinker of Ashes." Ma'na devoted himself to the 
task of translating into Syriac the commentaries 
of Theodore of Mopsuestia during the lifetime 
of that great theologian, who did not die till 
429. He must, however, have withdrawn from 
Edessa at a comparatively early period, as he 
was bishop of Persis^ prior to 420, in which year 
(the last of his reign) Yazdegerd I. made him 
catholicus of Seleucia, in succession to Yabh- 
alaha^. He had, it appears, translated a number 
of books from Syriac into Persian (Pahlavi), and 
thus probably ingratiated himself with the king=^. 
However, he soon fell under the royal displeasure, 
was degraded from his office, and ordered to retire 
to Persis, where he resumed his former duties*, 
and so incurred the anger of Yazdegerd's successor, 
Peroz^ Ma'na's work, the exact extent of which 
is not known to us, was carried on and completed 
by other members of the Persian school, — such as 
Acacius the catholicus and Yazidadh ; John of 
Beth Garmai, afterwards bishop of Beth Sari (or 
Serai ?), and Abraham the Mede, disciples of 
Narsai ; Mikha, afterwards bishop of Lashom in 
Beth Garmai ; Paul bar Kakai (or Kaki), after- 

1 Bar-Hebrpeus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 55, 63. 
^ B.O., ii. 401. 3 ji^icl., iii. 1, 376. 

^ Bar-Hebra3us, Chron. Eccles., ii. 63. 
^ B.O., ii. 402 ; iii. 1, 377. 



64 SYEIAC LITERATURE. 

wards bishop of Ladhan in al-Ahwaz ; 'Abhshota (?) 
of Nineveh, and others \ — who are expressly 
said to " have taken away with them " {appek 
'ammehon) from Edessa, and disseminated through- 
out the East, the writings of Theodore and 
Nestoriusl Ibas himself was one of these 
translators in his younger days (see above, p. 49). 
About the same time with Ma'na's translations 
began the Aristotelian studies of the Syrian 
Nestorians. To understand and translate the 
writings of their favourite Greek theologians, 
Paul of Samosata, Diodore of Tarsus, Theodore 
of Mopsuestia, and Nestorius himself, not to 
mention Theodoret^ of Cyrrhus, required a con- 
siderable knowledge of the Aristotelian logic. 
Hence the labours of Probus {Up6l3o^, in Syriac 
Probhos, Prdhhd, or Prohhe), who translated and 
commented on the He pi epixrjvela^^ and probably 
treated in a similar manner other parts of the 



1 B.O., i. 351-354. 

2 Ibid., i. 350; iii. 1, 226, note 8. 

3 His Eranistes (of which the fourth book is a demon- 
stratio per syllogismos of the incarnation) appears as the 
name of an author in 'Abhd-Isho"s Catalogue {B.O., iii. 1, 
41), under the form of Eranistatheos, or something similar. 

4 See Hoffmann, De Hermeneuticis apud Syros Aris- 
toteleis, 1869. MSS.,— Berlin, Alt. Best. 36, 9, 10; Brit. 
Mus. Add. 14660. The translation may possibly be even 
anterior to Probus. 



MONOPHYSITE SCHISM. 65 

Organon^. It is not easy to fix his date precisely. 
'Abhd-isho' ^ makes him contemporary with Ibas 
and another translator named Kumi [or Kumai]. 
If the Berlin MS. Sachau 226 can be trusted, 
he was archdeacon and archiater at Antioch. 
Hoffmann^ has assigned reasons for supposing 
him not to be anterior to the Athenian expositor 
Syrianus (433-450 ?). 

Whilst the Nestorians were thus making rapid 
progress all over the East, another heresy was 
spreading in the West. Eutyches had found 
followers in Syria, among others Bar-sauma the 
archimandrite, a man famous for his piety and 
asceticism ^ who represented the abbots of Syria 

1 Berlin, Sachau 226, 1, is described as "Isagoge des 
Porphyrins, von Probus, Presbyter, Archidiacon, und 
Archiater in Antiochien " ; and in the same MS., No 8, is 
"Erklarung der Analytica von Probus," with an "Einlei- 
tung in d. Erkl. d. Anal, von Probus," No. 7. 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 85. 

3 Op. dt., pp. 144-145. The name of Fubri or Phubrius, 
which appears as a variation of Probus in Hettinger's Bihl. 
Orient.^ in Assemani {B.O., iii. 1, 85, note 5), in Renan {De 
Philosophia Peripatetica apud Sjt/ros, p. 14), and in other 
books on this subject, has nothing to do with that of 
Probus, but is an error for Kuwairl, Abu Ishak Ibrahim, a 
Syro- Arabian Aristotelian who lived about the beginning 
of the 10th century. See the Fihrist, p. 262 ; Ibn Abi 
Osaibi'ah, i. 234; Wiistenfeld, Gesch. d. Arab. Aerzte, p. 24, 
No. 62, "Futheri oder Fubrl." 

^ All "hypocrisy" in the eyes of Assemani, B.O., ii. 2; 
" scelestissimus pseudo-monachus," p. 9. 

S. L. 5 



bb SYRIAG LITERATURE. 

at the second council of Ephesus^ and was after- 
wards condemned by the council of Chalcedon-. 
He died in 45 8 ^ His life was written by his 
disciple Samuel, in much the same style as that 
of Simon Stylites, and is extant in several MSS. 
in the British Museum'*. His memory has always 
been held in the greatest reverence by the Jaco- 
bites. The Armenians, according to Assemani^ 
keep his commemoration on the 1st of February, 
the Syrians and Copts on the 3rd. The decisions 
of the council of Chalcedon produced an imme- 
diate and irreparable breach in the Eastern 
Church ; and the struggle of the rival factions 
was carried on with desperate fury alike at 
Constantinople, Antioch, and Alexandria. In 
Syria the persecution of the Monophysites was 
violent during the years 518-521, under the 
emperor Justin, and again in 535 and the fol- 
lowing years, under Justinian, when they seemed 
in a fair way of being completely crushed by 
brute force. 

1 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 161-165; HofFmann, 
Verhandl. d. Kirchenversammlung zu Ephesus, &c., p. 4, 

1. 39. 

2 Bar-Hebr£eiis, loc. ciL, 179. ^ ji^i^i^^ igl. 

4 B.O.^ ii. 296, also p. cxlviii. No. 3; Wright, Catal, 
p. 1123. 

5 B.O., ii. 9 ; comp. Wright, Catal, p. 175, col. 2, No. 3, 
and p. 311, No. ccclxxxvii. 



JACOB OF sErugh. 67 

The first name to be mentioned here, as 
belonging to both the 5th and 6th centuries, is 
that of Jacob of Serugh, one of the most cele- 
brated writers of the Syrian Church \ '' the flute 
of the Holy Spirit and the harp of the believing 
church." There are no less than three biographies 
of him extant in Syriac, — the first, by his name- 
sake Jacob of Edessa^ ; the second, anonymous^; 
the third, a lengthy metrical panegyric, said 
to have been written for his commemoration'* 
by a disciple of his named George ^ This, how- 
ever, seems, from the whole tone of the composition, 
to be unlikely, and Bickell is probably right in 
supposing the author to be George, bishop of 
Serugh, a contemporary of Jacob of Edessa^. 

1 5.O., i. 283s^. ; 'Ma.ta.gne, in Acta Sa7ictorum, OctoheVj 
vol. xii. 824, 927; Abbeloos, De Vita et Scriptis S. Jacohi 
Batnarum Sarugi in Mesopotamia epi, 1867; Bickell, 
Conspectus^ p. 25; Bickell in Thalhofer, Bihl. d. Kirchen- 
vciter, 58; Martin, "Lettres de Jacques de Saroug aux 
Moines du Convent de Mar Bassus, et h Paul d'Edesse," in 
Z.D.M.G., XXX. (1876), p. 217. 

2 B.O., i. 286, 299; Martin, in Z.BJLG,, xxx. p. 217, 
note 3. 

3 Abbeloos, op. cit., p. 311. 

* See Wright, Catal., p. 311, No. ccclxxxix. The 
Arm3nians hold it on 25th September, the Jacobites on 
29th June, 29th July, and 29th October. 

5 Abbeloos, op. cit., p. 24; B.O., i. 286, 340. 

« See Bickell in Thalhofer, Bihl, 58, p. 198. 

5—2 



68 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Jacob was born at Kurtam, "a village on the river 
Euphrates," probably in the district of Serugh, in 
451. His father was a priest, and, as his parents 
had been childless for many years, his birth was 
regarded as a reward for their alms, prayers, and 
vows. Whether he was educated at Edessa or 
not, he soon acquired a great reputation for 
learning and eloquence. He appears to have led 
a life of quiet work and study, and to have 
devoted himself in particular to literary composi- 
tion. He became periodeutes of Haura in Serugh, 
whence we find him writing to the Christians of 
Najran, and to the city of Edessa when threatened 
by the Persians i. As periodeutes he is mentioned 
in eulogistic terms by Joshua the Stylite^ (503). 
In 519, when sixty-eight years old, he was made 
bishop of Batnan, the chief town of Serugh, 
where he died on 29th November 521. Jacob's 
prose writings are not numerous^. A liturgy is 
ascribed to him, and an order of baptism, the 
former of which has been translated by Renaudot^ 
the latter edited by J. A. Assemani^ Further, 
he composed six festal homilies, one of which has 



1 Wright, Catal, p. 520, Nos. 15, 16. 

2 Chronicle, ed. Wright, ch. liv. Joshua wrote in 507. 

3 B.O., i. 300-305. 

■* Liturgg. Orientt. Collectio, ii. 356. 

^ Cod. Liturg. Eccl. Univers., ii. 309, iii. 184. 



JACOB OF SERUGH. 69 

been published by Zingerle^ who has also trans- 
lated the whole of them into German 2; a discourse 
showing that we should not neglect or despise our 
sins^ ; another for the night of Wednesday in the 
third week of Lent^ ; and some short funeral 
sermons ^ To him we also owe a life of Mar 
Hannina (died in 500), addressed to one Philo- 
theus". Of his letters a considerable number 
have been preserved, particularly in two MSS. in 
the British Museum, Add. 14587 and 17163, fF. 
1-48 ^ Of these Martin has edited and translated 
the three epistles to the monks of the convent of 
Mar Bassus at Harim^ with a reply by the 
monks, and another letter to Paul, bishop of 
Edessa, from all of which it is evident that Jacob 
always was a Monophysite, and continued such to 
his deaths The letter to Stephen bar Sudh-aile 
is given, with an English version, by Frothing- 



1 u¥o7i. Syr., i. 91. 

'■^ Sechs Hoinilien des h. Jacob von Sarug, 1867. 

3 Wright, Catal.^ p. 826, No. 16; comp. the Index, 
p. 1293, col. 1. 

^ Ihid., p. 844, No. 32. 

5 Ibid., p. 364, col. 2. 

« Ibid., p. 1113, No. 14; p. 1126, No. 16. 

7 Ibid., Nos. dclxxii., dclxxiii., and comp. the Index, 
13. 1293, col. 1. 

i^ Ibid., p. 602, col. 2. 

'J See Martin, Z.D.M.G., xxx. (1876), pp 217-219. 



70 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

ham^; and that to the Himyarite Christians of 
Najran has been edited and translated by Schroter 
in the Z.D.M.G., xxxi. (1877), p. 360 sq. It 
belongs to the year 519 or 520". According to 
Bar-Hebrseus^ he also wrote "a commentary on 
the six centuries of Evagrius, at the request of 
Mar George, bishop of the (Arab) tribes, who was 
his disciple." As George, bishop of the Arab 
tribes, was a contemporary of Jacob of Edessa, 
this statement seems to rest on some misappre- 
hension ; at all events no such work now exists. 
The paucity of Jacob's prose writings is more 
than compensated by a flood of metrical compo- 
sitions, mostly in dodecasyllabic verse, or the 
four-syllable line thrice repeated. "He had," says 
Bar-Hebraeus^ ** seventy amanuenses to copy out 
his metrical homilies, which were 760-^ in number, 
besides commentaries and letters and odes (ma- 
dhr^ashe) and hymns (sughyathciy Of these 



1 See his Stephen bar Sudaili the Syrian Mystic and 
the Book of Hierotheos^ Leyden, 1886, p. 10 sq. 

2 See Giiidi, La Lettera di Simeone Vescovo di Beth- 
Arkhn sopra i Martiri Omeriti, 1881, p. 11, 

3 Chron. Eccles., i. 191. 
* Log. cit. 

^ Jacob of Edessa says 763, of which that on the chariot 
of Ezekiel was the first, and that on Mary and Golgotha 
the last, which he left unfinished; see B,0., i. 299; 
Abbeloos, De Vita, &c., p. 312. 



JACOB OF s£rUGH. 71 

homilies more than the half have perished, but 
nearly 300 are still preserved in European 
collections \ Very few of them have as yet been 
published, though many of them are by no means 
devoid of interest-. Indeed Jacob is on the whole 

1 Comp. B.O., i. 305-339; Abbeloos, op. cit., pp. 
106-113. 

2 Zingerle has given extracts m the Z.D.M.G.^ xii., xiii., 
xiv., XV., and xx., and in his Chrest. Syr.^ pp. 360-386. 
The homily on Simeon Stylites has been pubUshed by 
Assemani in the Acta S. Martyrwn, ii. 230 sq.^ [and has 
anew appeared in vol. iv. 650 sq. of (Bedjan's) Acta 
Martyrum et jSa7ictormn]; that on virginity, fornication, 
&c., by Overbeck, /S. Ephrae^ni Syri, &c., Opera Selecta, 
p. 385 sq. ; that on Alexander the Great (perhaps spurious) 
by Knos, Chrest. Syr., 1807, p. 66 52-. [and (a better edition) 
by Budge, Zeitschrift f. Assyriologie, vi. 359-404], (there is 
a German translation by A. Weber, Des Mor Yakuh 
Gedichtuher den glduhigen Konig AlexsanclrAs, 1852); on 
Habbibh and on Gurya and Shamuna, Edessene martjTS, 
with a sughltJm on Edessa, by Cureton, Ancient Syriac 
Docu7nents, pp. 86-98 [and in Acta Martyrum et Sanctorum, 
vol. i. 131 S2'., 16059-.]; on Sharbel by Mosinger, Mon. Syr., 
ii. 52, and on the chariot of Ezekiel, with an Arabic 
translation, ibid., p. 76 ; two on the Blessed Virgin Mary 
by Abbeloos, De Vita, &c., pp. 203-301 ; on Jacob at 
Bethel, on our Lord and Jacob, the church and Rachel, 
Leah and the synagogue, on the two birds (Lev. xiv. 4), on 
the two goats (Lev. xvi. 7), and on Moses' vail (Exod. 
xxxiv. 33) by Zingerle, Hon. Syr., i. 21-90; on Tamar by 
J. Zingerle, 1871 ; on the palace which St Thomas built 
for the king of India in Heaven (perhaps si)urious) by 
Schroter, in Z.D.M.G., xxv. 321, xxviii. 584; on the Ml of 
the idols by Martin, in Z.D.M.G., xxix. 107 ; on the baptism 



72 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

far more readable than Ephraim or Isaac of 
Antioch. 

Very different from the gentle and studious 
bishop of Serugh was his contemporary and 
neighbour, the energetic and fiery Philoxenus 
of Mabbogh. Aksenaya or Philoxenus was a 
native of Tahal, somewhere in Beth Garmai, and 
studied at Edessa in the time of Ibas^ He was 
ordained bishop of Hierapolis or Mabbogh (Manbij) 
by Peter the Fuller, patriarch of Antioch, in 485, 
and devoted his life to the advocacy of Monophy- 
site doctrine. Twice he visited Constantinople in 
the service of his party, and suffered much (as 
was to be expected) at the hands of its enemies, 
for thus he writes in later years to the monks of 
the convent of Senun near Edessa ; " What I 
endured from Flavian and Macedonius, who were 
archbishops of Antioch and of the capital, and 
previously from Calendion, is known and spoken 
of everywhere. I keep silence both as to what 

of Constantine (perhaps spurious) by Frothingham, in the 
Atti delta Accademia del Lincei for 1881-82 (Rome, 1882). 
Bickell has translated into German (in Thalhofer, Bihl.^ 
58) the first homily on the Blessed Virgin Mary, that on 
Jacob at Bethel, on Moses' vail, and on Gurya and 
Shamuna. Some of Jacob's homilies are extant in Arabic, 
and even in Ethiopic. His prayer as a child see in Over- 
beck, op. cit., p. 382. 
1 B.O.. i. 353. 



PHILOXENUS OF MABBOGH. 73 

was plotted against me in the time of the Persian 
war among the nobles by the care of the aforesaid 
Flavian the heretic, and also as to what befell me 
in Edessa, and in the district of the Apameans, 
and in that of the Antiochians, when I was in the 
convent of the blessed Mar Bassus, and again in 
Antioch itself; and when I went up on two 
occasions to the capital, like things were done to 
me by the Nestorian heretics ^" He succeeded at 
last in getting rid of his enemy Flavian in 512, 
and in the same year he presided at a synod in 
which his friend Severus was ordained patriarch 
of Antioch 2. His triumph, however, was but 
short-lived, for Justin, the successor of Anastasius, 
sentenced to banishment in 519 fifty-four bishops 
who refused to accept the decrees of the council 
of Chalcedon, among whom were Severus, Philo- 
xenus, Peter of Apamea, John of Telia, Julian of 
Halicarnassus, and Mara of Amid. Philoxenus 
was exiled to Philippopolis in Thrace ^ and 
afterwards to Gangra in Paphlagonia, where he 
was murdered about the year 523. The Jacobite 
Church commemorates him on 10th December, 

1 B.O., ii. 15; comp. the mention of him at Edessa by 
Joshua the Stylite in 498, Chronicle, ed. Wright, chap. xxx. 

^ Ihid., pp. 17, 18. 

3 He was living there when he wrote to the monks of 
Sgnun in 522; B.O., ii. 20. 



74 SYKIAC LITERATURE. 

18th February, and 1st April. Philoxenus, 
however, was something more than a man of 
action and of strife : he was a scholar and an 
elegant writer. Even Assemani, who never misses 
an opportunity of reviling him^ is obliged to 
own (B.O., ii. 20) " scripsit Syriace, si quis alius, 
elegantissime, atque adeo inter optimos hujusce 
linguae scriptores a Jacobo Edesseno collocari 
meruit." [Until the recent edition of his homilies 
by Budge] scarcely any of his numerous works 
had been printed 2. To him the Syriac Church 
owed its first revised translation of the Scriptures 
(see above, p. 13) ; and he also drew up an 
anaphora^ and an order of baptism^ Portions of 
his commentaries on the Gospels are contained 
in two MSS. in the British Museum ^ Besides 
sundry sermons, he composed thirteen homilies on 
the Christian life and character, of which there 
are several ancient copies in the British Museum. 
[Of these homilies a fine edition by Budge has 
now appeared, based on the Brit. Mus. MSS. of 

1 "Scelestissimushsereticus" (5.O., ii. 11); "flagitiosis- 
simus homo" (p. 12); "ecclesiam Dei tanquam ferns aper 
devastaverit" (p. 18). 

2 B.O., ii. 23 sq. ; Wright, Catal., Index, p. 1315. 

3 Renaudot, ii. 310 ; B.O., ii. 24. 

4 B.O., ii. 24. 

5 Add. 17126, dated 511, and Add. 14534, probably of 
eqnal age. 



PHILOXENUS OF MABBOGH. 75 

the 6th and 7th centuries \] Of his controversial 
works the two most important are a treatise On 
the Trinity and the Incarnation in three discourses ^ 
and another, in ten discourses, showing " that one 
(Person) of the Trinity became incarnate and 
suffered^"; but there are many smaller tracts 
against the Nestorians and Dyophysites^ His 
letters are numerous and may be of some value 
for the ecclesiastical history of his time. Asse- 
mani enumerates and gives extracts from several 
of them-^ but none of them have as yet been 
printed in full, with the exception of that to Abu 
Nafir of Herta (al-Hirah)^ to the monks of 
Tell-* Adda ^ and to the priests Abraham and 

1 [T/iC Discourses of Philoxenus^ Bishop of Mahhogh, 
A.D. 485-519, vol. i., London, 1894. Vol. ii., which is still 
in course of preparation, is to contain an English transla- 
tion, with illustrative extracts from the unpublished works 
of Philoxenus.] 

^ The Vatican MS. (Assemani, Catal., iii. p. 217, No. 
cxxxvii.) is dated 564; see B.O., ii. 25 s^. 

3 B.O., ii. 27 5^. The Vatican MS. is dated 581 ; that 
in the British Museum Add. 12164 is at least as old. 

4 See B.O., ii. 45, Nos. 15-17, and Wright, CataL, p. 
1315. 

^ B.O., ii. 30-46. Others may be found in Wright, 
CataL, p. 1315. 

^ See Martin, Gi-ammatica Chrestomathia et Glossarium 
Linguce Sijriacce, p. 71. 

^ Ign. Guidi, La Lettera di Filosseno ai Monaci di Tell 
^Addd [Teleda), Reale Accademia dei Lincei, anno cclxxxii., 



76 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Orestes of Edessa regarding Stephen bar Sudh- 
aile\ 

Contemporary with Jacob of Serugh and 
Philoxenus of Mabbogh was the pantheist Stephen 
bar Sudh-aile^ with whom both of these writers 
corresponded ^ and regarding whom the latter 
wrote the above-mentioned letter to the priests 
Abraham and Orestes. This man was the author 
of the work entitled The Book of Hierotheus, 
which he published under the name of Hiero- 
theus, the teacher of St Dionysius of Athens ^ and 

1884-85, Rome, 1886. In the Ethiopic literature there is 
extant a book entitled FlUkseym^ i.e., Philoxenus, from 
the name of its author, " Philoxenus the Syrian, bishop of 
Manbag" (see, for example, Wright, Catal., p. 177). It is 
a series of questions and answers on the Paradise of 
Palladius, like the Syriac work described in Wright, Catal., 
p. 1078. 

1 See B.O.y ii. 30; Frothingham, Stephen bar Sudaili, 
p. 28 sq. 

2 So in a MS. of the 7th century (Brit. Mus. Add. 
17163; see Wright, Catal, p. 524). The MSS. of Bar- 
Hebrseus ifiliron. Eccles., i. 221) have . . \ -m^n. or 
. > \ > m >^n- Assemani writes . > \ >>^t {Sudaili). 

" Hunt the deer" can of course be only a nickname of the 
father. See Frothingham, op. cit., p. 56 sq. 

3 B.O., i. 303. ii. 32 ; comp. Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., 
i. 221. 

4 B.O., ii. 120, 290, 302 ; Frothingham, op. cit., p. QZsq. 
The existence of any Greek text seems to be very 
doubtful, see Frothingham, p. 70. 



JOSHUA THE STYLITE. 77 

exercised a strong influence on the whole pseudo- 
Dionysian literature ^ Theodosius, patriarch of 
Antioch (887-896), wrote a commentary on the 
Hierotheus^. Bar-Hebraeus too made copious ex- 
tracts from it, which he arrange(i and illustrated 
with a commentary chiefly derived from that of 
Theodosius^. 

At the same time with Jacob of Serugh and 
Philoxenus, and in the same neighbourhood, lived 
one of the earliest and best of the Syrian histor- 
ians, the Stylite monk Yeshu* or Joshua, Of him 
we know nothing but that he originally belonged 
to the great convent of Zuknin near Amid, that 
at the beginning of the 6th century he was 
residing at Edessa, and that he dedicated his 
Chronicle of the Persian War ^ to an abbot named 
Sergius. His approving mention of Jacob ^ and 
Philoxenus*' shows that he was a Monophysite. 
Joshua's Chronicle would have been entirely lost 
to us, had it not been for the though tfulness of a 

1 B.O.t iii. 1, 13; Frothmgham, op. cit., pp. 2 and 81. 

2 See MS. Brit. Mus. Add. 7189 (apparently the very 
copy used by Bar-Hebroeus) ; Rosen, CataL, jx 74 sq. ; 
Frothingham, op. cit., p. 84. 

3 Brit. Mus. Or. 1017 (Wright, Catal, pp. 893-895); 
Bibl. Nation., Awe. fonds 138 (Zotenberg, Catal.., pp. 175- 
176); Frothingham, op. cit., p. 87. 

4 Ed. Wright, p. ix. ^ Ibid., chap. liv. 
^ Ibid., chap. xxx. 



78 SYKIAC LITERATURE. 

later writer, Dionysius of Tell-Mahre (d. 845), 
who incorporated it with his account of the reign 
of Anastasius in the smaller redaction of his own 
History. It was first made known to us by 
Assemani {Bihl Orient., i. 260-283), who gave a 
copious analysis with some extracts; and it is 
now generally acknowledged to be one of the 
best, if not actually the best, account of the great 
war between the Persian and Byzantine empires 
during the reigns of Kawadh and Anastasius 
(502-506)\ To the indefatigable Abbd Martin 
belongs the credit of publishing the editio prin- 
ceps of the Syriac text 2. The work was written 
in the year 507, immediately after the conclusion 
of the war, as is shown by the whole tone of the 
last chapter ; and it is much to be regretted that 
the author did not carry out his intention of 
continuing it, or, if he did, that the continuation 
has perished. 

The interest which Jacob of Serugh took in 
every branch of literature was the means of 
bringing into notice a hymn-writer of humble 

1 See, for example, the use that has been made of it in 
De Saint-Martin's notes to Lebeau's ffist. du Bas-empire, 
vol. vii. 

2 Chronique de Josue le Stylite, 1876, in vol. vi. of the 
Ahhandlungen fiir d. Kunde d. Morgenlandes. Another 
edition was published by Wright, The Chronicle of Joshua 
the Stylite, 1882. 



SIMEON OF BETH ARSHAM. 79 

rank, the deacon Simeon Kukaya, a potter by 
trade, as his name denotes. This man lived in 
the village of Geshir^ not far from the convent 
of Mar Bassus, and while he worked at his wheel 
composed hymns, which he wrote down on a 
tablet or a scroll, as might be convenient. Jacob 
heard of him from the monks, paid him a visit, 
admired his hymns, and took away some of them 
with him, at the same time urging the author to 
continue his labours ^ A specimen of these 
Kukdyatha has been preserved in the shape 
of nine hymns on the nativity of our Lord, 
Brit. Mus. Add. 14520, a MS. of the 8th or 9th 
century^ 

About the same time flourished Simeon, bishop 
of Beth Arsham^ commonly called Ddroshcl Phar- 
sayd or "the Persian Disputant." This keen 
Monophysite^ was one of the few representatives 

'^ See the narrative by Jacob of Edessa in Wright, 
Catal, p. 602; and comp. B.O., i. 121, ii. 322; Bar- 
Hebroeus, Chron. Eccles., i. 191. 

3 Wright, Catal, p. 363. 

* A village near Seleucia and Ctesiphon ; Bar-Hebrseus, 
Chron. Eccles.^ ii. 85. 

^ Assemani has tried to whitewash him, but with little 
success; B.O., i. 342 5^'. If he had had before him the 
account of Simeon by John of Ephesus (Land, A need. Syr., 
ii. 76-88), he would probably have abandoned the attempt 



^0 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

of his creed in the Persian territory, and exhibited 
a wonderful activity, mental and bodily, on behalf 
of his co-religionists, traversing the Babylonian 
and Persian districts in all directions, and disput- 
ing with Manichees, Daisanites, Eutychians, and 
Nestorians^ After one of these disputations, at 
which the Nestorian catholicus Babhai (498-503) 
was present ^ Simeon was made bishop, a dignity 
which he had declined on several previous occa- 
sions. He visited Herta (al-Hirah) more than 
once, and died during his third residence at 
Constantinople, whither he had come to see the 
empress Theodora I Assemani states, on the 
authority of Dionysius of Tell-Mahre, that he was 
bishop of Beth Arsham from 510 to 515, but the 
Syriac passage which he quotes merely gives the 
floruit of 510. If, however, the statements of 
John of Ephesus, who knew him personally, be 
correct, he was probably made bishop before 503, 
the date of Babhai's deceased His death must 
have taken place before 548, in which year Theo- 
dora^ departed this life. Besides an anaphora ^ we 

in disgust. See Guidi, La Lettera di Simeone Vescovo di 
Beth-Arsdm sopra i Martiri Omeriti, 1881, pp. 4-7. 

1 See Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles.^ ii. 85, i. 189 ; comp. 
B.0.,'\. 341, ii. 409, iii. 1, 403. 

2 Land, Anecd. Syr., ii. 82, 1. 12. 
^ Ihid., ii. 87, last line. 

4 B.O., iii. 1, 427. ^ Ihid., i. 345. 



JOHN BAR CURSUS. 81 

possess only two letters of Simeon, which are both 
of considerable interest. The one is entitled On 
Bar-sauma and the Sect of the Nestorians^; it 
deals with the origin and spread of Nestorianism 
in the East, but from the bitterest and narrowest 
sectarian point of view I The other, which is 
much more valuable, is addressed to Simeon, 
abbot of Gabbula^ and treats of the persecution 
of the Christians at Najran by Dhii Nuwas, king 
of al-Yaman, in the year 523 ^ It is dated 524, 
in which year the writer was himself at Herta 
(al-Hirah). 

To the same age and sect as Simeon belonged 
John bar Cursus (Kovpao^y, bishop of Telia or 

1 B.O., i. 346. 

2 First printed in B.O., i. 346 sq., from the Vatican 
MS. cxxxv. {Catal, iii. 214). 

3 Al-Jabbul. Or is it Jabbul, on the east bank of the 
Tigris, between an-Nu'manlyah and Wasit ? 

'* First printed in B.O., I 364 sq., according to the text 
offered by John of Ephesus in his History. There is, 
however, a longer and better text in a MS. of the Museo 
Borgiano and in Brit. Mus. Add. 14650, from which it has 
been reedited (with an excellent introduction, translation, 
and notes) by Guidi, La Lettera di Simeone, &c., Heale 
Accademia dei Lincei, 1881. To this work the reader is 
referred for all the documents bearing on the subject. 
[Another edition of the text, following Guidi's, in (Bedjan's) 
Acta Martyrum et Sanctorum, i. 372 sql\ 

^ The name of the father is also given as Curcus and 
Cyriacus. Assemani's Barsus {B.O., ii. 54) is a mis- 
reading. 

S. L. 6 



82 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Constantina. He was a native of Callinicus (ar- 
Rakkah), of good family, and was carefully educated 
by his widowed mother, who put him into the 
army at the age of twenty. He would not, however, 
be hindered from quitting the service after a few 
years and becoming a monk. Subsequently, in 
519, he was raised to the dignity of bishop of 
Telia, whence he was expelled by Justin in 521. 
In 533 he visited Constantinople, and. on his 
return to the East was seized by his enemies in 
the mountains of Sinjar, and dragged to Nisibis, 
Ras'ain, and Antioch, where he died in 538, at 
the age of fifty-five, having been for a year and 
six days a close prisoner in the convent of the 
Comes Manasse by order of the cruel persecutor 
Ephraim, patriarch of Antioch (529-544). His 
life was written by his disciple Elias (of Dara ?)\ 
The Jacobite Church commemorates him on the 
6th of February. Canons by John of Telia are 
extant in several MSS. in the British Museum 
and elsewhere 2. The questions put to him by 
Sergius with his replies have been published by 
Lamy^ His creed or confession of faith, addressed 

^ There are two copies in the British Museum, edited 
by Kleyn, Het Leven van Johannes van Telia door Elias^ 
1882 ; see also the Life by John of Asia in Land, Anecd. 
Syr., ii. 169. 2 ^.0., ii. 54. 

^ Dissert, de Syrorum Fide et Disciplina in Re Eucha- 



MARA OF AMID. — JOHN BAR APHTONYA. 83 

to the convents in and around Telia, is found in 
Brit. Mus. Add. 14549 (Gatal, p. 431), and an 
exposition of the Trisagion in Cod. Vat. clix. 
(Catal, iii. 314) and Bodl. Marsh. 101 (Payne 
Smith, CataL, p. 463, No. 20). 

Another of the unfortunate Monophysite 
bishops whom Justin expelled from their sees 
(in 519) was Mara of Amid, the third bishop of 
the name. He was banished, with his syncelli 
and with Isidore, bishop of Ken-neshrin (Kinnes- 
rin), in the first instance to Petra, but was 
afterwards allowed to go to Alexandria \ where 
he died in about eight years-. According to 
Assemani (Bibl. Orient, ii. 52 ; comp. p. 169), 
Mara wrote a commentary on the Gospels. It 
would seem, however, from a passage of Zacharias 
Rhetor^ that Mara merely prefixed a short pro- 
logue in Greek to a copy of the Gospels which 
he had procured at Alexandria^, and that this 
MS. contained (as might be expected) the pericope 
on the woman taken in adultery (John viii. 2-11). 
That the Syriac translations of the prologue and 
pericope were made by himself is nowhere stated. 

Yet another sufferer at the hands of Justin 

1 See Land, Anecd. Sp'., ii. 105. 
'^ Ibid., p. 108. 3 72,j^,^ iii_ 2505^. 

■* Compare what is said of his fine library and of its 
ultimate deposition at Amid, ibid., p. 245. 

6—2 



84 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

was John bar Aphtonya (Aphtonia, his mother's 
name)\ He was abbot of the convent of St 
Thomas at Seleucia (apparently in Pieria, on the 
Orontes), which was famous as a school for the 
study of Greek literature. Being expelled thence, 
he removed with his whole brotherhood to Ken- 
neshre (the Eagles' Nest) on the Euphrates, 
opposite Europus (Jerabis), where he founded a 
new convent and school that more than rivalled 
the parent establishment, for here Thomas of 
Heraclea, Jacob of Edessa, and others received 
their training in Greek letters ^ His Life, writ- 
ten by a disciple, is extant in Brit. Mus. Add. 
12l74^ According to Dionysius of Tell-Mahre, 
as quoted by Assemani {loc. cit), he died in 538. 
He wrote a commentary on the Song of Songs, 
some extracts from which are preserved in a 
Catena Patrum in the British Museum (Add. 
12168, f. 188a), a considerable number of hymns ^ 
and a biography of Severus of Antioch^, which 



2 See Bar-Hebrseus, Ckro7i. Fccles., i. 267, 289, and 
comp. pp. 258, 295, 321 ; Hoffmann, Ausziige, p. 162, note 
1260. 

3 Wright, Catal, p. 1124, No. 5. 

4 See for example, Brit. Mus. Add. 17134 (Wright, 
Catal, p. 330). 

5 Cited in Brit. Mus. Add. 14731 (Wright, Catal, 
p. 855). 



85 

must have been his last work, as he survived 
Severus only about nine months. 

We now come to the man who was the real 
founder of the Jacobite Church in Asia, and from 
whom the Jacobites took their name, Jacob bar 
Theophilus, surnamed "Burde'ana^" because his 
dress consisted of a bardatha or coarse horse-cloth, 
which he never changed till it became quite 
ragged^. What Assemani could learn regarding 
him he has put together in the Bibl. Orient, ii. 
62-69^; since then our sources of information 
have been largely increased, especially by the 
publication of the Ecclesiastical History of John 
of Ephesus by Cureton and of the same writer's 
Lives in Land's Anecd. Syr., ii.^ On a careful 
study of these is based Kleyn's excellent book 
Jacobus Baradceils, de Stichter der Syrische Mono- 
physietische Kerk, 1882. Jacob was the son of 
Theophilus bar Ma'nu, a priest of Telia or Con- 
stantina, and the child of his old age. After 

1 Usually corrupted into Baradoeus ; the form Burde aya 
seems to be incorrect; see Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., 
ii. 97. 

^ See Land, Anecd. Syr.^ ii. 375, 

3 Comp. also ii. 326, 331. 

^ The life at p. 249 is of course by John of Asia ; that 
at p. 364 can hardly be called his in its present form, 
though he may have collected most of the materials ; see 
Kleyn, op. cit., p. 34, 105 sq. 



86 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

receiving a good education, he was entered at the 
monastery of Pesilta (or the Quarry)', close by 
the village of Gummetha in Mount Izala (or 
Izla)^ not far from Telia. About 527-528 he 
and another monk of Telia, named Sergius, were 
sent to Constantinople in defence of their faith, 
and, being favourably received by the empress 
Theodora, they remained there fifteen years. 
Meantime the persecutions of the Monophysites, 
more especially that of 586-537 by Ephraim of 
Antioch, seemed to have crushed their party, 
despite all the efforts of the devoted John of 
Telia and John of Hephaestus ^ This state of 
matters excited the religious zeal of al-Harith ibn 
Jabalah, the Arab king of Ghassan, who came to 
Constantinople in 542-543, and urged Theodora 
to send two or three bishops to Syria. Accord- 
ingly two were consecrated by Theodosius, the 
exiled patriarch of Alexandria, namely, Theodore 
as bishop of Bostra, with jurisdiction over the 
provinces of Palestine and Arabia, and Jacob as 
bishop of Edessa, with jurisdiction over all Syria 
and Asia. From this time forward Jacob's life 
was one of ceaseless toil and hardship. He visited 
in person and on foot almost every part of his 

1 Land, op. cit., p. 365, 11. 6, 7. 

2 Ibid., p. 372, 1. 2. 

3 Ihid., p. 176. 



JACOB bukde'ana. 87 

vast diocese, consecrating deacons and priests, 
strengthening the weak, and bringing back those 
who had erred from the true faith. But to restore 
the Monophysite Church bishops were necessary, 
and the consecration of a bishop required the 
presence of at least three others. Selecting a 
priest named Conon from Cilicia and another 
named Eugenius from Isauria, he travelled with 
them to Constantinople and thence to Alexandria 
with letters of recommendation from the patriarch 
Theodosius. At Alexandria Conon was ordained 
bishop of Tarsus in Cilicia and Eugenius bishop 
of Seleucia in Isauria, whilst Antoninus and 
Antonius were consecrated for dioceses in Syria. 
On his return to Syria other bishops were ap- 
pointed to sees there and in Asia, among the 
latter the historian John of Ephesus ; and so the 
work progressed, till at last Jacob's efforts were 
crowned by the enthroning of his old friend 
Sergius as patriarch of Antioch (in 544). Sergius 
died in 547, and the see remained vacant for 
three years, after which, by the advice of Theo- 
dosius, Jacob and his bishops chose Paul, an abbot 
of Alexandria, to be their patriarch. Of the 
subsequent internal strifes among the Monophy- 
sites themselves we cannot here speak. The 
aged Jacob set out once more in the year 578 
to visit Damian, patriarch of Alexandria, but 



88 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

died on the Egyptian frontier in the convent of 
Mar Romanus or of Casion. Here his remains 
rested in peace till 622, when they were stolen 
by the emissaries of Zacchgeus, bishop of Telia, 
and buried with much pomp in the monastery of 
Pesilta\ His commemoration takes place on 
28th November, 21st March, and 31st July. 
Jacob's life was too active and busy to admit of 
his writing much. We may mention an anaphora^ 
sundry letters ^ a creed or confession of faith, 
preserved in Arabic and a secondary Ethiopic 
translation^, and a homily for the feast of the 
Annunciation, also extant only in an Arabic trans- 
lation*. 

Conspicuous among the scholars of this age 
for his knowledge of Greek, and more especially 
of the Aristotelian philosophy, was Sergius, priest 
and archiater of Ras'ain. He was, however, if 
Zacharias Rhetor may be trusted, a man of loose 

1 See the account of this "translation" by Cyriacus, 
bishop of Marde (Maridin), in Brit. Mus. Add. 12174 
(Wright, Catal, p. 1131). 

2 Translated by Renaudot, ii. 333. 

3 Translated from the Greek originals in Brit. Mus. 
Add. 14602 ; see Wright, Catal.^ p. 701 ; Kleyn, op. cit., 
pp. 164-194. 

■* See the Arabic text in Kleyn, op. cit.^ p. \'2\ sq.-, the 
Ethiopic version has been edited by Cornill in Z.D.M.G.^ 
XXX. 417 5^'. 

5 Bodl. Hunt. 199 (Payne Smith, Catal, p. 448, No. 5). 



SERGIUS OF RAS AIN. »« 

morals and avaricions\ He journeyed in 535 
from Ras'ain to Antioch to lodge a complaint 
before the patriarch Ephraim against his bishop 
Asylus'. Just at this time the exiled Severus of 
Antioch and Theodosius of Alexandria, as well 
as the Sty lite monk Ze'ora, were living with 
Anthimus of Constantinople under the protection 
of the empress Theodora. This alarmed Ephraim, 
who seems to have found a willing tool in Sergius. 
At any rate he sent him to Rome with letters to 
Agapetus, who travelled with him to Constanti- 
nople in the spring of 586, and procured the 
deposition and banishment of the Monophysites. 
Sergius died at Constantinople almost immedi- 
ately afterwards, and Agapetus followed him in a 
few days, wherein John of Ephesus and Zacharias 
Rhetor clearly see the judgment of Heaven^. As 
a man of letters Sergius was to the Monophysites 
what Probus was to the Nestorians : he was the 
firsf* to make them acquainted with the works of 

1 Land, A^iecd. Syr., iii. 289, 11. 13-15; comp. Bar- 
Hebraeus, Chron. Ecdes., i. 207. 

2 Bar-Hebrseus {Chron. Fccles., i. 205) has Ascolius (see 
also B.O.y ii. 323), but Asylus is correct; see A need. Syr., 
iii. 289, 1. 6, and Kleyn, Johannes van Telia, p. 59, 1. 
penult. 

3 Land, Anecd. Syr., ii. 19; iii. 290. 

* Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Syr., 62 (trans., p. 69) [ed. 
Bedjan, p. 57] ; see also the Hist. Dynast., 150 (trans., 
p. 94) and 264 (trans., p. 172). 



90 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Aristotle by means of translations and commen- 
taries. 'Abhd-isho , it is true, gives Sergius a 
place in his catalogue of Nestorian writers \ and 
states that he composed " expositions of logic " or 
"dialectics"; but he merely does so in the same 
way and on the same grounds that he registers 
the name of Jacob of Edessa as the author of 
"annals and a chronicle ^" The books were too 
valuable for him to insist on the heresy of the 
writers. In the case of Sergius there was an 
additional reason. The man was well known in 
the East^ many of his works being dedicated to 
his friend and pupil Theodore, afterwards Nestor- 
ian bishop of Maru or Merv (see p. 119 infray. 
What remains of Sergius's labours is mostly 
contained in a single MS. of the 7th century 
(Brit. Mus. Add. 14658)'. Of translations from 
the Greek we find in this volume the Isagoge of 
Porphyry, followed by the so-called Tabula Por- 



2 Ibid., 229. 

3 He may even be identical with the Sergius mentioned 
by Agathias as residing at the Persian court, where he 
translated into Greek a history of the kings of Persia ; see 
B.O., iii. 1, 87, note 3 ; Penan, De Philosophia Peripatetica 
apud Syros, 1852, pp. 24-25. 

4 jB.O., iii. 1, 147 ; Kenan, op. cit., p. 29. 

5 Wright, Catal, p. 1154 sq.; comp. Penan, op. cit., 
p. 25 5^.; Jou7'oi. Asiat., 1852, 4th series, vol. xix. p. 319 52'. 



SERGIUS OF RAS'AIN. 91 

phyrii^, the Categories of Aristotle ^ the Tiepl 
KOdfiov TT/oo? 'AXe^avBpov^, and a treatise on the 
soul, — not the well-known JJepl ^/^f%^?, but a 
wholly different tractate in five short sections. 
It also contains Sergius's own treatise on logic, 
addressed to Theodore, which is unfortunately 

1 There is a fragment of the Isagoge also in Brit. Mus. 
Add. 1618 (Wright, Catal., p. 738). 

2 In the Vatican MS. clviii. {Gated., iii. 306, No. vi.) 
this translation is wrongly ascribed to Jacob of Edessa, 
who could hardly have been more than a boy at the time 
when the MS. in the British Museum was transcribed. 
Besides, the version is not in his style. The Paris MS. 
Ancien fonds 161 naturally rejDeats this mistake (Zoten- 
berg, Catal., p. 202). In Catal. Bihl. Palat. Medic, cod. 
cxcvi., it is likewise erroneously attributed to Honain ibn 
Ishak (comp. Kenan, De Philos. Peripat. ap. Syros, p. 34, 
note 3). The Berlin MS. Alt. Best. 36 contains as No. 7 a 
treatise of Sergius on the Categories addressed to Phi- 
lotheus. 

3 Edited by Lagarde, Anal. Syr., p. 134 sq. ; see V. 
Eyssel, Ueber den textkritischen Werth d. syr. Ueberset:- 
ungen griechischer Klassiker, part i. 1880, part ii. 1881. 
In part i. p. 4 Professor Ryssel speaks of this version as 
" ein Meisterwerk der Uebersetzungskunst " ; and in part ii. 
p. 10 he says : " Die Uebersetzung der Schrift Trepi koo-/liov 
schliesst sich aufs engste an den Text des griechischen 
Originales an. Dass wir deshalb diese Uebersetzung als 
eine im besten Sinne wortgetreue bezeichnen konnen, zeigt 
schon eine Vergieichung mit der lateinischen Bearbcitung 
des Apulejus von Madaura." This opinion serves to 
rectify the judgment of Ibn Abi Osaibi'ah (i. 204) that 
Sergius was only a mediocre translator, and that his work 
needed revision by the later Honain ibn Ishak. 



yz SYKIAC LITERATURE. 

imperfect ; a tract on negation and affirmation ; 
a treatise, likewise addressed to Theodore, On the 
Causes of the Universe, according to the views of 
Aristotle, showing hoiu it is a circle; a tract On 
Genus, Species, and Individuality ; and a third 
tract addressed to Theodore, On the Action and 
Influence of the Moon, explanatory and illustrative 
of Galen's Yiepl fcpiai/jLwv Tj/nepcov, bk. iii.\ with a 
short appendix "On the Motion of the Sun." 
Here too we find part (sections 11, 12) of his 
version of the Ars Grammatica of Dionysius 
Thrax, a larger portion (sections 11-20) being 
contained in Brit. Mus. Add. 14620 (Wright, 
Catal., p. 802) ^ There is a scholion of Sergius 
on the term a-xrjf^a in the Brit. Mus. Add. 14660 
(see Wright, Catal, p. 1162). In his capacity of 
physician, Sergius translated part of the works 
of Galen. Brit. Mus. Add. 14661 contains books 
vi.-viii. of the treatise De Simpliciwn Medicamen- 
torum Temper amentis ac Facultatibus (Wright, 

1 See Sachau, Inedita Syr., pp. 101-126. 

2 This identification is due to Merx; see Dionysii 
Thracis Ars Oranimatica, ed. Uhlig, p. xliv. sq. Merx has 
treated of an old, but indejDendent, Armenian version in 
the same book, p. Ivii. sq. [The Syriac text is given in the 
appendix to Merx's Historia artis grammaticae cvpiid Syros. 
Merx however maintains that the work was not translated 
by Sergius, and that several other of the contents of Brit. 
Mus. Add. 14658 are not his {op. cit., p. 7 sq.)."] 



SERGIUS OF RASAIN. 93 

Gated., p. 1187)\ addressed to Theodore; and in 
Brit. Mus. Add. 17156 there are three leaves, two 
of which contain fragments of the Ars Medica, 
and one of the treatise De Alimentorum Facultat- 
ibus (Wright, Catal., p. 1188)^ As one of the 
clergy, he wasted his time in making a translation 
of the works which passed under the name of 
Dionysius the Areopagite^ Brit. Mus. Add. 
12151^ contains this version with the introduction 
and notes of Phocas bar Sergius of Edessa^, a 
writer of the 8th century, as appears from, his 
citing Athanasius II. and Jacob of Edessa. In 
Brit. Mus. Add. 22370' we find Sergius's own 
introduction and the commentary of a later writer, 
Theodore bar Zarudi''. 

1 See Merx's article in Z.DJI.G., xxxix. (1885), p. 
237 sq. 

2 See Sachau, Lied. Syr., pp. 88-94. 

3 See Frothingham, Stephen bar Sudaili, p. 3. 

4 See Wright, Catal, p. 493. 

^ B.O., i. 468. Assemani erroneously places him before 
Jacob of Edessa. 

6 See Wright, Catal, p. 500. 

^ There are also old MSS. of Sergius's version in the 
Vatican; Catal, iii. Nos. cvii. (p. 56), ccliv. (p. 542). 
Bar-Hebra3us states {Hist. Dynast., p. 158; transl., p. 99) 
that Sergius translated into Syriac the Syntagma of the 
Alexandrian priest and physician Aaron, and added to it 
two books; but Steinschneider {Al-Fdrdhl, p. 166, note 2) 
says that this is a mistake, and that the real author of the 
two additional books was the Arabic translator IMasarja- 



94 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

If Sergius was the Probus of the Monophysites, 
their Ma'na was Paul, bishop of Callinlcus (ar- 
Rakkah)\ who, being expelled from his see in 
519, betook himself to Edessa and there devoted 
himself to the task of translating the works of 
Severus into Syriac. We know for certain '^ that 
he edited versions of the correspondence of Severus 
and Julian of Halicarnassus on the corruptibility 
or incorruptibility of the body of Christ, with a 
discourse of Severus against Julian^; of the 
treatise against the Additions or Appendices of 
Julian^ and against the last apology of Julian^; 



waihi or Masarjis. The translator of the Geoponica, 
Al-Faldhah ar Rumlyah (Leyden, cod. 414 Warn. ; Catal., 
iii. 211) and joint translator of the Mcyakq avvra^is of 
Ptolemy (Leyden, cod. 680 Warn. ; Catal., iii. 80), by 
name Serjis or Serjun (Sergius or Sergona) ibn ar-RumI, 
seems to be a quite different person of later date. 

1 B.O., ii. 46. He is to be distinguished from his 
namesake and contemporary, Paul, bishop of Edessa, who 
was banished to Euchaita in 522 {B.O., i. 409-411), restored 
to his see in 526 {ibid., p. 413), and died in the following 
year ; whereas Paul of Callinlcus was working at Edessa in 
528 (see p. 135, infra). 

2 Thanks in part to a note at the end of Cod. Vat. cxL 
{Catal., iii. 223; comp. B.O., loc. cit.). 

3 Completed in 528 ; Cod. Vat. cxl. ; Brit. Mus. Add. 
17200 (Wright, Catal, p. 554). 

4 Cod. Vat. cxl. ; Brit. Mus. Add. 12158 (Wright, Catal, 
p. 556), dated 588. 

5 Brit. Mus. Add. 12158. 



PAUL OF CALLINlCUS.-L^ WS OF THE EMPERORS. 9o 

of that against the Manichees ; and of the Phila- 
lethes^. Probably by him are the older translation 
of the Homilice Cathedrales^ and that of the 
correspondence of Sergius Grammaticus and 
Severus regarding the doctrine of the two natures 
in Christ^, possibly, too, the translation of the 
treatise against John Grammaticus of Csesarea^ 
and of some other works which are known to us 
only by a few scattered citations ^ Hence he is 
called by the Jacobites Mephashshekand dhakhe- 
thdbhe, " the Translator of Books ^" 

This seems the proper place to make mention 
of a most important though anonymous work, 
the translation of the so-called Civil Laws of the 
Emperors Constantine, Theodosius and Leo, which 
lies at the root of all subsequent Christian Oriental 
legislation in ecclesiastical, judicial, and private 

^ There is a long extract from this work in Cod. Vat. 
cxl. {Catal^ iii. 232). 

2 Brit. Mus. Add. 14599, dated 569 ; Cod. Vat. cxlii., 
dated 576 ; cxliii., dated 563 ; cclvi. 

3 Brit. Mus. Add. 17154. 

4 Brit. Mus. Add. 17210-11, 12157. 

^ Compare, for example, Wright, Catal., p. 1323. The 
translation of the Octoechus is the work, not of Paul of 
Callinlcus, but of an abbot Paul, who executed it in the 
island of Cyprus (see p. 135 infra). 

^ The passage quoted by Assemani {B.O.^ i. 409, note 2) 
seems, however, to confound him with his namesake of 
Edessa. 



96 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

matters \ The Syriac version, made from a Greek 
original, exists in two manuscripts^ the older of 
which undeniably belongs to the earlier part of 
the 6th century. The work itself appears, 
according to the researches of Bruns {op. cit., pp. 
318-319), to date from the time of the emperor 
Basilicus (a.d. 475-477), who was a favourer of 
the Monophysites ; the Syriac translation is 
ascribed to a Monophysite monk of Mabbogh or 
Hierapolis (ibid., p. 155). The Paris MS. probably 
represents a Nestorian revision of the 9th or 10th 
century at (Baghdad) Baghdadh (ibid., p. 166). 
[A third Syriac recension, which must have 
differed very considerably from the other two, 
is known from an imperfect Cambridge MS.^] 
The oldest MS. of the secondary Arabic version 
is dated 1352 (ibid., p. 164), but it has been 
traced back to the time of the Nestorian lawyer 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 267, note 6, 278, 338-339, 351, col. 2; 
comp. Bruns and Sachau, Syrisch-Romisches Rechtshuch, 
1880, pp. 175-180. 

2 Brit. Mus. Add. 14528 (Wright, Catal, p. 177), and 
Paris, Suppl. 38 (Zotenberg, Catal, p. 75, col. 1, No. 46). 
The text of the former was first published by Land {Anecd. 
Syr., i. 30-64), with a Latin translation. Both have been 
edited and translated, along with the Arabic and Armenian 
versions, with translations and a learned ajDparatus, by 
Bruns and Sachau, op. cit. 

3 [Only the last four sections remain; printed (for 
private circulation) in Wright's Notulce Syriacce, 1887.] 



ahu-dh'emmeh. 97 

Abu l-Faraj 'Abdallah ibn at-Taiyib (who died 
1043), whether made by him or not {ibid., p. 177). 
It belongs to the same class as the London Syriac, 
but is based on a better text, such as that of the 
fragment in Brit. Mus. Add. 18295 {ibid., p. 172)\ 
Of the secondary Armenian translation the same 
is to be said as of the Arabic. The oldest MS. of 
it dates from 1328, but it probably goes as far 
back as the end of the 12th century {ibid., p. 164). 
The Georgian version, of which there is a MS. at 
St Petersburg, is most likely an offshoot of the 
Armenian. 

Another scholar, besides Sergius, whom 
'Abhd-isho' wrongly claims as a Nestorian, is 
Ahu-dh'emmeh, metropolitan of Taghrith (Tekrit). 
He appears, on the contrary, to have been the 
head of the Monophysites in the Persian territory. 
According to Bar-Hebrseus^ he was appointed by 
Christopher, catholicus of the Armenians, to be 
bishop of Beth 'Arbaye^ but was promoted by 
Jacob Burde'ana in 559 to the see of Taghrith, 
where he ordained many priests and founded two 
monasteries. Among his numerous converts 
from heathenism was a youthful member of the 

1 Wright, Catal, p. 1184. 

2 Chro7i. Eccles., ii, 99; comp. B.O., ii. 414, iii. 1, 192, 
note 3. 

3 Ba-'arbaya, the district between Nislbis and the 
Tigris. 

S. L. 7 



98 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

royal family of Persia, whom he baptized by the 
name of George. This excited the anger of 
Khosrau I. Anosharwan, who ordered the bishop 
to be beheaded (2d August 575). As a wTiter 
Ahu-dh'emmeh seems to have been more of a 
philosopher than a theologian \ He wrote against 
the Persian priesthood and against the Greek 
philosophers, a book of definitions, a treatise on 
logic, on freewill in two discourses, on the soul 
and on man as the microcosm, and a treatise on 
the composition of man as consisting of soul and 
body^. He is also mentioned by later authors as 
a writer on grammars 

[Here may be mentioned the Me'drath Gazze 
(' Cave of Treasures'), an original Syriac work, 
which, according to Bezold-* and Noldeke^, dates 
in all probability from the 6th century. It 
consists of an expansion of the early biblical 
history, somewhat after the manner of the Book 
of Jubilees. The substance of it has passed into 
the Ethiopic Book of Adam, the second and third 
parts of which agree with it in matter, though 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 192. 

2 Of this last part is extant in Brit. Mus. Add. 14620 
(Wright, Catal, p. 802). 

3 See B.O., iii. 1, 256, note 2; [cf. Merx, Hist, artis 
gramm. ap. Syros, p. 33 s^-.]. 

* l^Die Schatzhohle, vol. i. p. x. 

^ In Literarisches Centralhlatt for 1888, col. 234. 



ROMANCE OF JULIAN. 99 

not verbally. The Syriac text has been edited by 
Bezold from four MSS.^ and accompanied by the 
old Arabic version 2. ] 

Early in the 6th century a monk of Edessa, 
whose name is unknown to us, tried his hand at 
the composition of a tripartite historical romance ^ 
— a history of Constantino and his three sons ; an 
account of Eusebius, bishop of Rome, and his 
sufferings at the hands of Julian the Apostate ; 
and a history of Jovian or, as the Orientals usually 
call him, Jovinian, under Julian and during his 
own reign. The whole purports to be written by 
one Aploris or Aplolaris (Apollinarius ?), an 
official at the court of Jovian, at the request of 
'Abhdel, abbot of Sndriin (?) Mahoza, with a view 
to the conversion of the heathens. All three 
parts contain but a very small quantity of histo- 
rical facts or dates, and deal in the grossest 
exaggerations and inventions. Yet the Syriac 
style is pure, and we gain from the book a good 

1 Brit. Mus. Add. 25875 and 7199, Sachau MSS. 131, 
Cod. Vat. Syn. 164. 

'^ Die Schatzhohle, vol. ii., Leipzig, 1888. Vol, i., published 
in 1882, contains a German translation from the Syriac : 
vol, iii,, which has not yet appeared, is to furnish a general 
introduction. A review by Noldeke in Literar. Centralhl. 
for 1888, coll. 233-236.] 

^ Contained in Brit. Mus. Add. 14641, ff. 1-131, a MS. 
of the 6th century. 

7—2 



100 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

idea of the way in which the author's countrymen 
thought and spoke and acted. This romance has 
been published by Hoffmann \ and Noldeke has 
given a full account of it, with an abridged 
translation, in Z.D.M.G., xxviii. p. 263 sq. He 
places the time of composition between 502 and 
532. It is curious to find that this romance must 
have been known in an Arabic translation to the 
historian at-Tabari, who treats it as a genuine 
historical document^. From him it has passed to 
the Kdmil of Ibn al-Athir i. 283 sq., and the 
Akhbdr al-Basha7^ of Abu '1-Fida (Hist. Anteis- 
lamica, ed. Fleischer, p. 84). Ibn Wadih 
al-Ya'kubi seems in his Annals^ to have drawn 
from the same source, though independently of 
at-Tabari, and so also al-Mas'udi, Muruj adh- 
Dhahah, ii. 323. Bar-Hebrseus has also made 
some use of it in his Ghronicon, ed. Bruns and 
Kirsch, pp. 68-69 ; [ed. Bedjan, pp. 63-64]. No 
doubt, too, it is the work attributed by 'Abhd-isho' 
to the grave ecclesiastical historian Socrates, who, 
as he says^ wrote "a history of the emperors 
Constantine and Jovinian." 

1 Jidianos der Ahtriinnige^ 1880. 

2 At-Tabari, Annales, i. 840 sq. ; see Noldeke, in 
Z.D.M.G., xxviii. 291-292, and Geschichte der Perser und 

der Sasamden, p. 59 sq. 
itsma, i. 182-183. 
41. 




IBHAfiH 



CHRONICON EDES8ENUM. 101 

Another, but much inferior, romance, of which 
Julian is the hero, is contained in Brit. Mus. Add. 
7192, a manuscript of the 7th century. It has 
been edited by Hoffmann, op. cit, pp. 242-259, and 
translated by Noldeke, Z.D.M.G., xxviii. 660-674. 
We shall not be far wrong in assigning it likewise 
to the 6th century, though it is probably rather 
later than that just noticed. 

Of real historical value, on the contrary, is 
the anonymous Chronicon Edessenum, fortunately 
preserved to us in the Vatican MS. clxiii.^ and 
edited by Assemani in B.O., i. 388-417. [It has 
also been edited and translated into German by 
Hallier in Untersuchungen ilher die edessenische 
Chronik (Von Gebhardt and Harnack's Texte und 
Untersuchungen, ix. 1, Leipzig, 1892).] There is 
an English translation of it in the Joiorn. of Sacred 
Lit., 1864, vol. V. (new ser.), p. 28 sq. It begins 
with A.Gr. 180, but the entries are very sparse 
till we reach A.Gr. 513 (202 A.D.). The last of 
them refers to the year 540, about which time the 
little book must have been compiled. The author 
made use of the archives of Edessa and other 
documents now lost to us, as well as of the 
Chronicle of Joshua the Stylite (see above, p. 77). 
In religious matters he is not a violent partisan, 

1 See CataL, iii. 329. 



102 SVRIAC LITERATURE. 

nor given to the use of harsh words, a thing to be 
noted in the age in which he lived. 

Another writer of first-rate importance as a 
historian is John, bishop of Asia or Ephesus, *' the 
teacher of the heathen/' " the overseer of the 
heathen," and " the idol-breaker," as he loves to 
style himself ^ He was a native of Amid 2, and 
must have been born early in the 6th century, 
according to Land about 505. He was ordained 
deacon in the convent of St John in 529, when he 
must have been at least twenty years of age ^. In 

534 the terrible pestilence of the reign of Justi- 
nian broke out, and at that time John was in 
Palestine ^ having, doubtless, fled from Amid to 
avoid the persecution of the Monophysites by 
Abraham bar Kili (?) of Telia, bishop of Amid 
(from about 520 to 546), and Ephraim bar Appian 
of Amid, patriarch of Antioch (529-544), "a much 
worse persecutor than Paul or Euphrasius^" In 

535 we find him at Constantinople, where in the 
following year, according to Bar-Hebrseus'', he 

1 See Eccles. Hist.^ ed. Cureton, bk. ii. ch. 4, and bk. iii. 
ch. 36 ; Land, Anecd. Syr., ii. 256, 1. 25. 

2 B.O., ii. 83; Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 195. 

3 B.O., ii., Dissert, de Monophysitis, p. cxxv. ; Land, 
Anecd. Syr., 174, 11. 8, 9. 

4 B.O., ii. 85-86. 

^ E.ff., ed. Cureton, bk. i. ch. 41, comj^. B.O., ii. 51. 
6 Chron. Eccles., i. 195. 



JOHN OF ASIA OR EPHESUS. 103 

became bishop of the Monophysites in succession 
to the deposed Anthimus. Be this as it may, he 
was certainly received with great favour by 
Justinian, whose friendship and confidence he 
enjoyed for thirty years, and "had the admini- 
stration of the entire revenues of all the congre- 
gations of the believers {i.e., the Monophysites) in 
Constantinople and everywhere else\" Wishing 
to root out heathenism in Asia Minor, obviously 
for political as well as religious reasons, the 
emperor appointed John to be his missionary 
bishop I In this task he had great success, to 
which his faithful friend and fellow-labourer for 
thirty-five years, Deuterius, largely contributed^ 
He interested himself, too, in the missionary 
efforts of Julian, Theodore, and Longinus among 
the Nubians and Alodsei'*. In 546 the emperor 

1 E.H., ed. Cureton, bk. v. ch. 1. 

2 Ibid., bk. ii. ch. 44; bk. iii. ch. 36, 37; comp. B.O., 
ii. 85. 

3 E.H., ed. Cureton, bk. ii. ch. 44. 

^ Ibid.., bk. iv. ch. 6-8, 49-53; comp. Bar-Hebraeus, 
Chron. Ecdes., i. 229. How just his views were as a 
missionary may be seen from bk. iv. ch. 50, where he says 
"that it was not right that to an erring and heathen 
people, who asked to be converted to Christianity and to 
learn the fear of God, there should be sent by letter, before 
everything that was necessary for their edification, con- 
fusion and offence and the revilings of Christians against 
Christians." 



104 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

employed him in searching out and putting down 
the secret practice of idolatry in Constantinople 
and its neighbourhood \ After the death of his 
patron the fortunes of John soon underwent a 
change. Bk. i. of the third part of his History 
commences with the persecution under Justin in 
o7l, in which he suffered imprisonment^. His 
friend Deuterius, whom he had made bishop of 
Caria, was also persecuted, and died at Constan- 
tinople ^ From this time forward John's story is 
that of his party, and the evidently confused and 
disordered state of his History is fully explained 
and excused by his own words in bk. ii. 50, where 
he tells us^ " that most of these histories were 
written at the very time when the persecution 
was going on, and under the difficulties caused by 
its pressure ; and it was even necessary that 
friends should remove the leaves on which these 
chapters were inscribed, and every other particle 
of writing, and conceal them in various places, 
where they sometimes remained for two or three 
years. When therefore matters occurred which 

1 B.O., ii. 85. 

2 E.H., ed. Cureton, bk. i. ch. 17; bk. ii. ch. 4-7. Of 
unjust legal proceedings he complains in bk. ii. ch. 41, 
where he loses his Trpodo-reiov, &c. 

3 KII., ed. Cureton, bk. ii. ch. 44. 

* Payne Smith's translation, p. 163. 



JOHN OF ASIA OR EPHESUS. 105 

the writer wished to record, it was possible that 
he might have partly spoken of them before, but 
he had no papers or notes by which to read and 
know whether they had been described or not. 
If therefore he did not remember that he had 
recorded them, at some subsequent time he 
probably again proceeded to their detail ; and 
therefore occasionally the same subject is recorded 
in more chapters than one ; nor afterwards did he 
ever find a fitting time for plainly and clearly 
arranging them in an orderly narrative." Some 
of the chapters are actually dated at various times 
from A.Gr. 886 (575 a.d.) to 896 (585). The 
time and place of his death are unknown, but he 
cannot have lived long after 585, being then 
about eighty years of age^ His greatest literary 
work is his Ecclesiastical Histoi^y in three parts, 
the first two of which, as he himself tells us'^ 
embraced, in six books each, the period from 
Julius Csesar to the seventh year of Justin II., 
whilst the third, also in six books, carried on the 
tale to the end of the author's life. The first part 
is entirely lost. Of the second we have copious 
excerpts in the Chronicle of Dionysius of Tell- 



1 See Land, Joannes Bhichof von Ephesos, der erste 
Syrische Kirchenhistoriker, 1856. A very useful book. 

2 E.H.^ ed. Curetou, bk. i. ch. 3. 



106 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Mahre^ and in two MSS. in the British Museum I 
The third has fortunately come down to us, though 
with considerable lacunae, in Brit. Mus. Add. 
14640 (of the 7th century) I This book is worthy 
of all praise for the fulness and accuracy of its 
information and the evident striving of the author 
after impartiality. The Syriac style, however, is 
very awkward and involved, and abounds in Greek 
words and phrases. Of scarcely less value for the 
history of his own time is another work entitled 
Biographies of Eastern Saints, men and women, 
contained in Brit. Mus. Add. 14647, fif. 1-135^ 
These lives were gathered into one corpus about 
569, as appears from the account of the combi- 
nation of the monasteries of Amid during the 
persecution of 521, which was put on paper in 



1 B.O., ii. 100; comp. pp. 85-90. 

2 Add. 14647 (dated 688), ff. 136-139: Add. 14650 
(dated 875), ff. 189-206. Edited by Land, Anecd. Syr., ii. 
289-329 and 385-391. See also a small fragment, ihid., 
363, from Add. 12154, f. 201b. 

3 Edited by Cureton, 1853. There is an English trans- 
lation by E. Payne Smith, 1860, and a German one by 
Schonfelder, 1862. 

4 Edited by Land, Anecd. Syr., ii. 1-288. [These and 
the fragments of E.H. printed in Anecd. Syr. have also 
been translated into Latin by van Douwen and Land, Com- 
mentarii de heatis orientalihus et historiae eccles. fragmenta, 
Amsterdam, 1889.] 



ZACHARIAS RHETOR. 107 

567 ^ and from the history of the convent of St 
John, extending from its foundation in 389 to 
568^. To these lives Land has added three more, 
which are ascribed in MSS. to John, but do not 
seem to have been included in this collection^ 

The name of Zacharias Rhetor or Scholasticus, 
bishop of Mitylene in Lesbos ^ must next be 
mentioned, for, though a Greek author, his work 
has entered into the Syriac literature as part of a 
compilation by a Syrian monk. The Ecclesiastical 
History of Zacharias seems to have terminated 
about the year 518, whereas his Syriac translator 
was writing as late as 569 ^ and even later. The 
MS. in the British Museum, Add. 17202', cannot 
be younger than the beginning of the 7th century, 
and is clearly the compilation of a Monophysite, 
who used Zacharias as his chief authority in books 
iii.-vi.; whereas books i., ii., and vii.-xii. were 

1 Anecd. Syr.^ ii. 212, 1. 17; see also p. 191, last two 
lines. 

2 Ibid., ii. 288, 11. 2, 3. 

3 Ibid., ii. 343-362. That of Jacob BurdS'ana (ibid., 
p. 364) is not his, at least in its present shape (see above, 
p. 85). There is a slightly different redaction of it in the 
Bibl. Nation, at Paris, Anc. fonds 144 (Zotenberg, CatuL, 
p. 187). 

^ See I^and, Joannes Bischof von Ephesos, p. 35 sq., and 
A7iecd. Si/7'., iii., Preface. 

^ Land, Anecd. Syr., iii. pp. xi., xii,, and p. 5, 1. 21 sq. 
6 See Wright, CataL, p. 10465^. 



108 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

gathered from different sources, such as Moses of 
Aggel (about 550-570), Simeon of Beth Arsham 
(see above, p. 79 sq.), Mara, of Amid (see above, p. 
83), the correspondence of Julian of Halicarnassus 
and Severus of Antioch (see above, p. 94), the 
history of John of Ephesus^ &c. In a Syriac MS. 
in the Vatican (No. cxlv.)- we find a series of 
extracts from this Syriac work (f. 78 sq.) as 
a continuation of copious excerpts from the Greek 
histories of Socrates and Theodoret. The last of 
these, on the public buildings, statues, and other 
decorations of the city of Rome, has been carefully 
re-edited and annotated by Guidil [The Syriac 
version of the life of Severus of Antioch, by 
Zacharias Rhetor, has been edited by Spanuth 
from Sachau MS. 321 (Gottingen, 1893).] 

^ Not a few chapters in books vii.-x. seem to be derived, 
in part at any rate, from the second part of the Ecclesiastical 
Histori/. 

2 Catal.^ iii. 253; B.O., ii. bAsq.; Mai, Scriptontm 
Vetericm Nova Collection x. pp. xi.-xiv., 332-388. The MS.) 
which Assemani calls " pervetustus, Syriacis Uteris strong- 
hylis exaratus " (p. 253), is not likely to be earlier than the 
middle of the 8th century, as it contains a work of the 
patriarch Elias, who sat from 708 to 728. 

^ 11 Testo Siriaco della Descrizione di Roma, &c., from 
the Bidlettino della Commissione Archeologica di Roma^ 
fasc. iv. anno 1884 (Rome, 1885). It is also extant in a 
shorter form in Brit. Mus. Add. 12154, f. 158a (see Wright, 
Catcd., p. 984; Guidi, p. 235 5^.). 



JOHN SABHA. 109 

We turn from the historians to the ascetic 
writers of this century, who seem to have been 
more prized by their countrymen, though far 
less valuable to us. And first we mention the 
author who is commonly called John Sabha^ or 
" the Aged," placing him here on the authority of 
Assemani {B.O., i. 433), for 'Abhd-isho' claims 
him as a Nestorian {B.O., iii. 1, 103). His floruit 
is given as about 550. His writings consist of 
short sermons or tracts, exclusively intended for 
the training and study of monks and coenobites, 
and a number of letters. 'Abhd-isho' {loc. cit.) 
says : "he composed two volumes, besides mourn- 
ful epistles, on the monastic life." They were 

1 There is some uncertainty about his name. In B.O., 

i, 434, Assemani gives |^ i N >?? OOl _-L-kjQ-», John 
of Dilaita, which, he says (p. 433), is a convent at Nineveh, 
on the opposite bank of the Tigris from JMosul. In vol. iii. 

1, 103 he prints OlA-i-J^jJ 001 ^JL-KiQ»», which he renders 
Joannes Daliathensis, i.e., from ad-Daliyah, iJtjJt, prob- 
ably meaning Daliyat Malik ibn Tank, on the right bank 
of the Euphrates below ar-Rakkah and Rahbat Malik ibn 
Tauk. In the Vatican Catalogue he calls him Daliathensis, 
writing, however, in Syriac |A-i_^-»>5. But how can 

OlA-kAjj mean " of ad-Daliyah " (]-i. >-^?)? Following 

the analogy of uutOlO n \ n ) •-_»;lD, w_.(no>,rD5 i - >0 j, 
and the like, it ought rather to mean " John of the Vine- 
Branches," or "John with the Varicose Veins," or (as in 
Arabic) " John of the Buckets." 



110 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

collected^ by his brother, who has prefixed a brief 
apology, at the end of which the reader may find 
a curious example of affected humility {B.O., i. 
435)2. Two short specimens of the style of " the 
spiritual old man," ash-Shaikh ar-ruham, are 
printed in Zingerle's Monumenta Syr., i. 102-104. 
A little junior to John Sabha was the even 
more widely known Isaac of Nineveh ^ to whom 
the Nestorians also lay claim ^ His date is fixed, 
as Assemani points out, by the facts of his citing 
Jacob of Serugh and corresponding with Simeon 
Stylites the younger or Thaumastorites, who died 
in 593. According to the Arabic biography, 
printed in B.O., i. 444, he was a monk of the 
convent of Mar Matthew at Mosul, and afterwards 
became bishop of that city, but soon resigned his 
office and retired to the desert of Skete in Egypt, 
where he composed his ascetic works. According 
to 'Abhd-isho {B.O., iii. 1, 104), Isaac "wrote 

1 See Wright, Catal, p. 863, j. In the B.O., i. 434, 
Assemani gives an Arabic version of it from a Vatican 
MS. 

2 YoY a Hst of them in Syriac and Arabic, see B.O.^ 
i. 435-444, and comp. Wright, Catal.^ pp. 582, 584, 860, 
870 (No. 16). There is also an Ethiopic version, Aragawl 
Manfasdwl, made from the Arabic ; see Zotenberg, Catal. 
des MSS. Ethiopiens de la Bibl. Nation., No. 115, p. 134. 

3 B.O., i. 444. 

4 Ihid., iii. 1, 104. 



ISAAC OF NINEVEH. — ABRAHAM OF NEPHTAR. Ill 

seven volumes on the guidance of the Spirit, and 
on the Divine mysteries and judgements and 
dispensation." Many of his discourses and epistles 
have been catalogued by Assemani, B.O., i. 446- 
460. The MS. Vat. cxxiv. contains the first half 
of his writings (GataL, iii. 143), and similarly 
MSS. Brit. Mus. Add. 14632 and 14633\ The 
Arabic translation is divided into four books ; the 
Ethiopic is naturally derived from the Arabic. A 
Greek version was made from the original Syriac 
by two monks of St Saba, near Jerusalem, named 
Patricius and Abraamius, on which see Assemani, 
B.O., i. 445, and Bickell, Conspectus, p. 26. The 
only printed specimens of his discourses are two 
in Zingerle's Monumenta Syr.y i. 97-101 ; [and 
three which have been edited and translated into 
Latin by Chabot as an appendix to his essay De 
8. Isaaci Ninivitae Vita, Scriptis et Doctrina, 
Paris, 1892]. 

Another author of this class, but of less mark, 
is Abraham of Nephtar^, who flourished towards 
the end of the 6th century and in the early part 
of the 7th^ Him too the Nestorians claim as 

1 Wright, CataL, pp. 569, 576. 

'^ Also written Nethpar and Nephrath ; see Assemani, 
Catal. Vat., iii. 138. But, as we can find no trace of any 
such town as Nephtar, the name of |_»5A.2U may have 
some other origin. 

^ B.O., iii. 1, 191, note 1. 



112 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

theirs ^ 'Abhd-isho' speaks of "various works" of 
his-, but our libraries seem to contain only eight 
short discourses, the titles of which are given by 
Assemani, B.O., i. 4641 They have been trans- 
lated into Arabic, and there was also a Persian 
version of them by Job the monk (B.O., iii. 1, 
431). 

We record here the name of Moses of Aggel 
as being one of those who, after Rabbula, under- 
took the translation of the writings of Cyril of 
Alexandria into Syriac. He made a version of 
the Glaphyra, at the request of a monk named 
Paphnutius, from whose letter^ we learn that the 
treatise On Worship in Spirit and in Truth had 
been already translated ^ whilst from the reply of 
Moses, as quoted in B.O., ii. 82-83, it is obvious 
that he was writing after the death of Philoxenus 
and the chorepiscopus Polycarp. Hence we may 
place him soon after the middle of the century, 
say from 550 to 570. Much later he cannot be, 

1 Compare Wright, CataL, p. 187, No. 154. 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 191. 

3 There seem to be ten in Cod. Vat. ccccxix. ; see Mai, 
Scriptt. Vet. Nova Coll., v. 65. 

* Cod. Vat. cvii. {Catal., iii. 53); Guidi, Rendiconti 
delta R. Accademia del Lincei, May and June, 1886, 
p. 399 s^. 

5 Brit. Mus. Add. 12166, ff. 155-258, bears date 553 
(Wright, Catal, p. 491). 



PETER OF CALLINiCUS. 113 

because his translation of the History of Joseph 
and Asyath (see above, p. 25) has been admitted 
into the Syriac compilation that passes under the 
name of Zacharias Rhetor (see above, p. 107)\ 

Peter of Callinicus (ar-Rakkah), Jacobite 
patriarch of Antioch, 578-591 ^ deserves mention 
on account of his huge controversial treatise 
against Damian, patriarch of Alexandria, manu- 
scripts of parts of which, of the 7th and 8th 
centuries, are extant in the Vatican and the 
British Museum ^ Other writings of his are an 
anaphora^ a short treatise against the Tritheists^ 
sundry letters ^ and a metrical homily on the 
Crucifixion of our Lord'. In the dispute between 
him and Damian was involved his syncellus and 
successor Julian, who defended Peter against an 

1 Of the Vatican MS. of the Glaphyra only five leaves 
remain {Catal., iii. 54), and the MS. in the British 
Museum, Add. 14555, is very imperfect (Wright, Catal. ^ 
p. 483). As Guidi has shown, these two MSS. are merely 
the disjecta membra of one codex. 

2 B.O., ii. 69, 332; Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 250. 

3 B.O.^ ii. 77-82; comp. Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., 
i. 257. 

4 B.O., ii. 77. 

5 Brit. Mus. Add. 12155, f. 231b (Wright, Catal, 
p. 951). 

6 Wright, Catal, p. 1314. 

7 Brit. Mus. Add. 14591 (Wright, Catal, p. 671). 

S. L. 8 



114 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

attack made upon him by Sergius the Armenian, 
bishop of Edessa, and his brother John\ 

Of the numerous Nestorian writers of the 6th 
century we unfortunately know but little more 
than can be learned from the catalogue of 'Abhd- 
isho'. Their works have either been lost, or else 
very few of them have as yet reached our 
European libraries. 

The successor of Narsai (above, p. 58) in the 
school of Nisibis was his sister's son Abraham-, 
who must have fled from Edessa with his uncled 
His principal writings are commentaries on 
Joshua, Judges, Kings, Ecclesiasticus, Isaiah, the 
twelve minor prophets, Daniel, and the Song of 
Songs ^. 

To him succeeded as teacher John, also a 
disciple of Narsai ^ He wrote commentaries on 

1 jB.a, ii. 333; Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 259. 

2 B.O.^ iii. 1, 71. Assemani would seem to have 
confounded him with a later Abraham of Beth Rabban ; 
see his note, B.O., iii. 1, 631. 

3 There seems to be no reason for identifying him with 
Abraham "the Mede," whom Simeon of Beth Arsham 
nicknames "the Heater of Baths" {B.O., i. 352). 

^ The hymn appended to Nestorian copies of the 
Psalter probably pertains to this Abraham and not to 
the later Abraham of Beth Rabban (see, for example, 
Brit. Mus. Add. 7156, f 157 b); comp. Bickell, Conspectus, 
p. 37, and Hoffmann, Opusc. Nestor., xi., note 2. 

^ B.O., iii. 1, 72. Here again Assemani seems to have 
mixed up this John with a later John of Beth Rabban and 



JOHN OF NLSiBIS. — JOSEPH HUZAYA. 115 

Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, Job, Jeremiah, 
Ezekiel, and Proverbs ; also controversial treatises 
against the Magi or Persian priesthood, the Jews, 
and (Christian) heretics ; a book of questions on 
the Old and New Testaments ; and various hymns. 
If the discourses on the plague at Nisibis^ and 
the death of Khosrau I. Anosharwan be really by 
him, he was alive as late as 579, in the spring of 
which year that monarch died-. 

John was followed by Joseph Huzaya^ another 
disciple of Narsai^, and the first Syriac grammar- 

with John Sabha of Beth Garmai ; see his additional notes 
in B.O., iii. 1, 631, 708. 

1 During the time of the cathohcs Joseph and Ezekiel, 
from 552 to 578; see B.O., ii. 413, 433, note 2. 

2 The hymn in the Nestorian MSS. of the Psalter 
(mentioned in note 4, p. 114) is probably by this John and 
not by the later John of Beth Kabban ; comp. Hoffmann's 
note referred to above. The monastery of Rabban Z6kha- 
Isho' (or isho'-zekha) in Dasen was not founded till about 
590, and Zekha-isho' himself did not die till the thirteenth 
year of Khosrau II. Parwez, 603; see B.O.^ iii. 1, 472. 

^ I.e., of al-Ahwaz or Khuzistfrn. He must not be 
confounded with Joseph Hazzaya, of whom we shall speak 
hereafter (see p. 128 infra). 

^ Bar-Hebra3us, Chron. Eccles., ii. 78, says that Joseph 
Huzaya was the immediate successor of Narsai ; but the 
Nestorian writer cited by Assemani {B.O., iii. 1, 64) is 
likely to be better informed. The passage quoted ibid., 
p. 82, points in the same direction; comp. also B.O., iii. 2, 
cmxxvii. 

8—2 



116 8Y11IAC LITERATURE. 

ian. Of him Bar-Hebrseus observes^ that " he 
changed the Edessene (or Western) mode of 
reading into the Eastern mode which the Nesto- 
rians employ ; otherwise during the whole time 
of Narsai they used to read like us Westerns." 
He was the inventor of some of the Syriac signs 
of interpunction-, and wrote a treatise on 
grammar^ and another on words that are spelled 
with the same letters but have different mean- 
ings 1 

Of Mar-abha^ the Elder, catholicus from 536 
to 552, we have already spoken above as a 
translator of the Scriptures (p. 19). He was a 
convert from the Zoroastrian religion, and seems 
to have been a man of great talent and versatility, 
as he mastered both the Greek and Syriac 
languages. Receiving baptism at Herta (al-Hirah) 
from a teacher named Joseph, he went for the 
purposes of study to Nisibis, and afterwards to 

1 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles.^ ii. 78 ; comp. B.O.^ ii. 407. 

2 See Wright, Catal, p. 107, col. 2. Assemani {B.O., 
iii. 1, 64, col. 2) has mistranslated the words 3A3 
hJu rtjc»*l> >ola*^l w^ft-^-o, Comp. Hoffmami, Opusc. 
Nestor.^ viii., xi.; [Merx, Hist, artis gramm. ap. Syros, 
p. 28, sq.l 

3 Berlin, Eoyal Library, Sachau 226, 4. 

4 Bar-Hebrseus, (Euvres grammaticales, ed. Martin, 
ii. 77. 

5 Properly Mar(i)-abha, but we shall write Mar-abha. 



MAR-ABHA I. 117 

Edessa, where he and his teacher Thomas^ 
translated into Syriac the liturgy of Nestorius^. 
They visited Constantinople together, and, escap- 
ing thence at some risk of their lives, betook 
themselves to Nisibis, where Mar-abha became 
eminent as a teacher. On being chosen catholicus 
he opened a college at Seleucia and lectured 
there. Unluckily, he got into controversy, it is 
said, with the Persian monarch Khosrau I. 
Anosharwan (531-579), who banished him to 
Adharbaigan (Azerbijan) and destroyed the 
Nestorian church beside his palace at Seleucia. 
Mar-abha, however, had the temerity to return to 
Seleucia, was thrown by the king into prison, and 
died there ^ His dead body was carried by one 
of his disciples to Herta, where it was buried and 
a monastery erected over the grave. He wrote ■* 
commentaries on Genesis, the Psalms, and Pro- 
verbs, and the epistles of St Paul to the Romans, 
Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 

1 Probably the same who is mentioned among his 
disciples in B.O., ii. 412, and some of whose writings are 
enumerated by 'Abhd-isho in B.O.^ iii. 1, 86-7. 

- So 'Abhd-isho' in B.O., iii. 1, 36; but in Brit. Mus. 
Add. 7181 the same remark is made as to the liturgy of 
Theodore of Mopsuestia (see Rosen, Catal., p. 59). 

3 B.O., ii. 411-412, iii. 1, 75, notes 1, 2; Bar-Hebr?eus, 
C/woji. Fcclc's., ii. 89-95. 

^ B.O, iii. 1, 75. 



118 SVKIAC LITERATURE. 

and Hebrews; various homilies; syiiodical epi- 
stles^; and ecclesiastical canons-. In these last 
he opposed the practice of marriage at least 
among the higher orders of the clergy, the bishops 
and catholics. What is meant by his " canones in 
totLim Davidem " may be seen from such MSS. of 
the Psalter as Brit. Mus. Add. 7156^ and Munich, 
cod. Syr. 4 (Orient. 147)^ Hymns of his are also 
extant^ 

Under Mar-abha flourished Abraham of Kash- 
kar (al-Wasit), distinguished for his acquaintance 
with philosophy and for his ascetic virtues. He 
introduced certain reforms into the Persian 
monasteries. After living for some time in a 
cave at Hazzah^ he betook himself to Jerusalem 
and thence to Egypt. Returning to his old 
haunt, he led the life of a hermit for thirty years, 
travelling into the far north as a missionary. He 
died at Hazzah, but his body was secretly 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 76, note 4. 

2 Ihid., iii. 1, 81, and note 1 ; comp. Cod. Vat. cccvi. in 
Mai, Scriptt. Vett. Nova Coll.^ v. 21. 

3 Eosen, Catal.^ p. 12. 

* Verzeic/miss d. orient. Handschriften d. k. Hof- u. 
Staats-Bibl., &c., p. 111. 

^ See Bickell, Conspectus, p. 37, and comp. Brit. Mus. 
Add. 17219, f. 165b (beg., Glo7y to Thee, Lord; how good 
Thou art!). 

c A village near Arbel or Irbil, in Hedhaiyabh. 



ABRAHAM OF KASHKAR. — THEODORE OF MERV. 119 

removed to his native place Kashkar. He wrote 
a treatise on the monastic life, which was trans- 
lated into Persian by his disciple Job the monk\ 

He must, it would seem, be distinguished 
from another Abraham of Kashkar, who lived 
about the same time, and with whom Assemani 
has confounded him-. This Abraham was a 
student at Nisibis under Abraham the nephew of 
Narsai. Thence he went to Herta (al-Hirah), 
where he converted some of the heathen inhabit- 
ants, visited Egypt and Mount Sinai, and finally 
settled down as a hermit in a cave on Mount Izla, 
near Nisibis, where a great number of followers 
soon gathered about him and a large monastery 
was built. He introduced stricter rules than 
heretofore among the coenobites I His death did 
not take place till towards the end of the century''. 

Theodore, bishop of Maru or Merv, was 
appointed to this see by Mar-abha in place of 
David, whom he had deposed, about 540. He 
seems to have been much addicted to the study of 
the Aristotelian dialectics, since several of the 
translations and treatises of Sergius of Ras'ain 

1 B.O., ill. 1, 155, col. 1, 431 ; iii. 2, dccclxxiii. 
'^ Comp. B.O., iii. 1, 154, note 4, with Hoftnianii, 
Auszuge, p. 172. 
3 J5.0., iii. 1, 93. 
* See HofFmanii, loc. cit. 



120 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 



are dedicated to him^ Among his own works "^ 
there is mentioned "a solution of the ten questions 
of Sergius." He also composed a commentary on 
the Psalms and a metrical history of Mar 
Eugenius and his companions ^ who came from 
Klysma and introduced asceticism into Mesopo- 
tamia about the beginning of the 4th century. 
What may have been the contents of the " liber 
varii argumenti" which he wrote at the request 
of Mar-abha himself it is hard to guess, in the 
default of any copy of it. 

Theodore's brother Gabriel, bishop of Hor- 
mizdsher^ is stated by 'Abhd-isho^ to have 
written two controversial books against the 

1 See Brit. Mus. Add. 14658 (Wright, Catal, p. 1154); 
Renan, De Philosophia Peripat. ap. Syros, p. 29. 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 147. 

3 See B.O.^ iii. 1, 147, note 4, and 633; iii. 2, dccclxii.; 
Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., i. 85, with note 5 ; Hoffmann, 
Auszilge, p. 167. If the poem mentioned by Assemani 
{B.O., iii. 1, 147, note 4) really speaks of Abraham of 
Kashkar and still more of Babhai of Nislbis, it must be of 
later date, and Hoffmann is inclined to ascribe it to 
George Warda, a writer of the 13th century (see Ausziige, 
p. 171, note 1327). 

■* A corruption of Hormizd-Ardasher, still further 
shortened by the Arabs into Hormushir. It is identical 
with Suk al-Ahwaz, or simply al-Ahwaz, on the river 
Kariin. See Noldeke, Gesch. d. Perser u. Araber, p. 19, 
with note 5. 

^ B.O., iii. 1, 147. 



JOSEPH OF SELEUCIA. 121 

Manichees and the Chaldseans (astrologers), as 
also about 300 chapters on various passages of 
Scripture which needed elucidation and expla- 
nation. 

The successor of Mar-abha in the see of 
Seleucia was Joseph, in 552. He studied 
medicine in the West and practised in Nisibis, 
where he lived in one of the convents. Having been 
introduced by a Persian noble to the notice of 
Khosrau I., he cured that monarch of an illness, 
and ingratiated himself with him so much that 
he favoured his appointment to the office of 
catholicus. Of his strange pranks and cruelties 
as archbishop some account, doubtless highly 
coloured, may be read in B.O., iii. 1, 432-433, and 
Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 95-97. He was 
deposed after he had sat for three years, but he 
lived twelve years longer, during which time 
no successor was appointed. He promulgated 
twenty-three canons^ and, according to Elias, 
bishop of Damascus (893)^ after his deposition 
drew up a list of his predecessors in the dignity 
of catholicus, wherein he would seem to have paid 
special attention to those who had shared the 

1 ^.0., iii. 1, 435. Elias bar Shin ay a cites his "synod" ; 
see Bar-Hebra3us, Chron. Eccles., ii. 96, note 1. 

2 In his Nomocanon, quoted by Assemani, B.O., iii. 1, 
434. 



122 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

same fate with himself. At least Bar-Hebra:;us^ 
(perhaps not a quite trustworthy witness in this 
case) gives currency to the charge of his having 
forged the consolatory epistles of Jacob of Nisibis 
and Mar Ephraim to Papa of Seleucia on his 
deposition. 

A little later in the century, under the sway 
of his successor Ezekiel (a disciple of Mar-abha 
and the son-in-law of his predecessor Paul), 567- 
580 -, there flourished Paul the Persian^, of 
Dershar or Dershahr^ a courtier of Khosrau I. 
Anosharwan^ He is said by Bar-Hebrseus® to 
have been distinguished alike in ecclesiastical and 
philosophical lore, and to have aspired to the post 
of metropolitan bishop of Persis, but, being 
disappointed, to have gone over to the Zoroastrian 
religion. This may or may not be true ; but it is 
certain that Paul thought more of knowledge 
than faith, for thus he speaks^: "Scientia enim 

1 Chron. Eccles., ii. 31. 

2 See B.O., iii. 1, 435-439; Bar-Hebr£eus, Chron. Eccles., 
ii. 97, 103. 

3 B.O., iii. 1, 439 ; Renan, Be Philos. Peripat. ap. Syros, 
pp. 16-22. 

* ;-»^), a place not known to the present writer. 

^ See Noldeke, Gesch. d. Perser u. Araber, p. 160, 
note 3. 

^ Chron. Eccles., ii. 97. 

'' In the Preface to his Logic, as translated by Land 
(see note 3, p. 123). 



PAUL THE PERSIAN. — BODH. 123 

agit de rebus proximis et manifestis et quse sciri 
possunt, fides autem de omnibus materiis quve 
remotae sunt, neque conspiciuntur neque certa 
ratione cognoscuntur. Hsec quidem cum dubio 
est, ilia autem sine dubio. Omne dubium 
dissensionem parit, dubii absentia autem unani- 
mitatem. Scientia igitur potior est fide, et illam 
prse hac eligendum est." Bar-Hebrseus speaks of 
Paul's " admirable introduction to the dialectics 
(of Aristotle) ^" by which he no doubt means the 
treatise on logic extant in a single MS. in the 
Brit. Mus.- It has been edited, with a Latin 
translation and notes, by Land^. 

About this same time Assemani^ places the 
periodeutes Bodh, who is said to have had the 
charge of the Christians in the remoter districts 
of the Persian empire as far as India. Among 
his writings are specified " discourses on the faith 
and against the Manichees and Marcionites," as 
well as a book of "Greek questions," probably 
philosophical, bearing the strange title of Aleph 
M%gvn-\ All these have perished, but his name 

1 Chron. Ecdes., ii. 97. 

2 Add. 14660, f. 55b; see Wright, Catal., p. 1161. 

3 Anecd. Syr., iv., Syr. text, pp. 1-32; traiisl., pp. 1-30; 
notes, pp. 99-113. 

4 B.O., iii. 1, 219. 

^ Assemani, loc. cit., note 1, proposes to read Aleph 
Mellln, "the Thousand Words"; but Aleph Mlg'in is more 



124 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

will go down to remote posterity as the translator 
into Syriac of the collection of Indian tales 
commonly called Kalllah and I)imnah\ Of this 
work a single copy has come down to our time, 
preserved in an Oriental library. A transcript of 
it was first procured by Bickell^ who, in conjunc- 
tion with Benfey, edited the book (Leipsic, 1876); 
and since then three additional copies of the same 
original have been got by Sacbaul That Bodh 
made his Syriac translation from an Indian 
(Sanskrit) original, as 'Abhd-isho' asserts, is 
wholly unlikely ; he no doubt had before him a 
Pahlavi or Persian version^. 

Just at this period the Nestorian Church ran 
a great risk of disruption from an internal schism. 
Hannana of Hedhaiyabh, the successor of Joseph 
Huzaya in the school of Nisibis [and the author 
of a revision of its statutes published in 590 
under the metropolitan Simeon] ^ who had, it is 

likely to be a corruption of some Greek word. [According 
to Steinschneider it is to a\(f)a fxeyav, i.e., Book A of the 
Metaphysics of Aristotle.] 

1 The Syriac title keeps the older forms Kalilagh and 
Damnagh. 

2 Gottingen, university library, MS. Orient. 18d. 

3 Berlin, Royal Library, Sachau 139, 149, 150. 

* See Keith-Falconer, Kalllah and Dimnah, Introd., 
xlii. sq. 

^ [See Guidi, Scuola di Nisihi, p. 4. Earlier writers, who 
had access only to an imperfect Arabic redaction of the 



H ANN AN A OF h£dHAIYABH. 125 

said, a following of 800 pupils \ had dared to assail 
the doctrines and exegesis of Theodore of Mop- 
suestia and to follow in some points those of 
Chrysostom-. During the time of the catholicus 
Ezekiel (567-580)=^ he brought forward his theo- 
logical views, which were condemned at a synod 
held under the next catholicus, Ish5'-yabh of 
Arzon (581-595)'', and at another synod presided 
over by his successor, Sabhr-isho' (596-604)1 
On the death of this latter a struggle took place 
between the rival factions, the orthodox Nestor- 
ians putting forward as their candidate Gregory 
of Tell-Besme^ bishop of Nisibis, whilst the 
others supported Gregory of Kashkar, a teacher 
in the school of Mahoze or Selik (Seleucia)'. 
The influence of the Persian court decided the 



statutes have confused this revision with the later and 
final edition of the statutes published under the metro- 
pohtan Aha-dh'abu(hi), a.d. 602. Guidi's documents 
have made it necessary to omit or change a few words 
in this paragraph.] 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 81, note 2, 437. 

^ Ihid.^ iii. 1, 84, note 3. 

3 lhid.,\\. 413; iii. 1,435. 

^ Ihid., ii. 415, iii. 1, 108; Bar-Hebra)us, (7/iro?i. ^cc^es., 
ii. 105, note 3. 

6 ^.0., ii. 415; iii. 1, 82, 441. 

^ Not aromatarkts^ as Assemani translates Besmdi/d. 

7 B.O.y ii. 416; iii. 1, 449. We need not believe the 
statements of Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Fccles., ii. 107. 



126 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

matter in favour of the latter, who was a persona 
grata in the eyes of the queen Shirin and her 
physician Gabriel of Shiggar (Sinjar)^ a keen 
Monophysite, who naturally availed himself of this 
opportunity to harm the rival sect of Christians-. 
Gregory was not, however, a partisan of Hannana, 
but an orthodox Nestorian, as appears from the 
account given of the synod over which he pre- 
sided ^ by which the Nicene creed was confirmed, 
the commentaries of Theodore of Mopsuestia 
approved, and the memory and writings of Bar- 
sauma vindicated against his assailants. He died 
at the end of three years (607), and the archiepis- 
copal see remained vacant till after the murder 
of Khosrau II. Parwez in 628, during which 
time of persecution Babhai the archimandrite 
distinguished himself as the leader and guide of 
the Nestorian Church. In the overthrow of 

1 See B.O., ii. 404-406, 416, 472; Bar-Hebrseus, Ckro/i. 
Bccles., ii. 109; Noldeke, Gesch. d. Perser u. Araber, 
p. 358, in the note; Hoffmann, Ausziige, jDp. 118-121. 

^ [But according to the Syriac chronicle published by 
Guidi at the Stockholm Congress, the court favourite, 
who was elected catholicus, was Gregory of Porath (a 
place near Basra), whereas Gregory of Kashkar was the 
unsuccessful candidate of the orthodox Nestorians. See 
Noldeke, Die vo7i Guidi heraasgegehene syrische Chronik 
(Vienna, 1893), pp. 18, 19 (in Sitzungsher. d. kaiserUclien 
Akad. der Wissenschaften)^ 

3 B.O., iii. 1, 452. 



HANNANA. — JOSEPH HAZZAYA. 127 

Khosrau the oppressed Nestorians bore a part, 
more especially Shamta^ and Kurta, the sons of 
the noble Yazdin, who had been the director of 
the land-tax of the whole kingdom and had 
amassed an enormous fortune, which the king 
confiscated^. To return to Hannana, his works, 
as enumerated by 'Abhd-isho'^ are — commentaries 
on Genesis, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, 
the Song of Songs, the twelve minor prophets, 
the Gospel of St Mark, and the epistles of St 
Paul ; expositions of the (Nicene) creed and the 
liturgy; on the occasions of the celebration of 
Palm Sunday, Golden Friday^, rogations ^ and the 
invention of the cross ; a discourse on Palm 
Sunday ; and various other writings in which he 
attacked the teaching of Theodore of Mopsuestia, 
and which the church therefore placed on its 
index expu7^gatorius^. 

The doctrines of Hannana found a warm 



1 See B.O., iii. 1, 471. 

2 See Hoffmann, Ausziige, pp. 115-121 ; Noldeke, Gesch. 
d. Perser u. Araber, p. 383. To Yazdin is ascribed a hymn 
which appears in Nestorian Psalters, e.g., "Wright, Catal., 
p. 135 ; Zotenberg, Catal., p. 9, 

3 B.O., iii. 1, 83-84. 

* The first Friday after Pentecost or Whitsunday, with 
reference to Acts iii. 6. 
5 See^.O., ii. 413. 
« Ibid., iii. 1, 84, note 3. 



128 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

champion in Joseph of Hazza (Arbel or Irbil)\ 
with whom Babhai the archimandrite entered 
into controversy-. He is said to have composed 
some 1900 tracts, of which 'Abhd-isho' mentions 
about a dozen as "profitable," whence we may 
conjecture that the rest were more or less deeply 
tinged with heresy. The chief of them are — on 
theory (or speculation) and practice ; the book of 
the treasurer, containing the solution of abstruse 
questions ; on misfortunes and chastisements ; on 
the reasons of the principal feasts of the church ; 
the book of the histories of the Paradise of the 
Orientals, containing many notices of ecclesiastical 
history; an exposition of the vision of Ezekiel 
and of the vision of St Gregory; of the book of 
the merchant^; of (pseudo-)Dionysius (the Areo- 
pagite); and of the capita scientice or heads of 
knowledge (of Evagrius) ; besides epistles on the 
exalted character of the monastic life. Joseph 
appears to have been made a bishop in his latter 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 100 ; HofFmann, Ausziige, p. 117. Asse- 
mani confounds Joseph Hazzaya with the older Joseph 
Huzaya, and translates Hazzaya by "videns" instead of 
"Hazzseus." 

2 E.g., his letters to Joseph of Hazza, B.O., iii. 1, 97, 
and the tract De Unione, ib., 95. 

3 According to Assemani, B.O., iii. 1, 102, note 4, of 
Isaiah of Scete, who, according to Palladius, was originally 
a merchant. 



iSHo'-YABH I. OF ARZON. 129 

days, and to have taken the name of 'Abhd-isho' ; 
at least a MS. in the India Office (No. 9) contains 
a tract on Zech. iv. 10 (f. 241 b), and three series 
of questions addressed by a pupil to his teacher, 
by " Mar 'Abhd-isho', who is Joseph Hazzaya " 
(f. 293 a)\ 

The successor of Ezekiel as catholicus of the 
Nestorians was Isho'-yabh of Arzon, 581-595 -. 
He was a native of Beth 'Arbaye, educated at 
Nisibis under Abraham (see above, p. 114), and 
subsequently made bishop of Arzon ( kp^avrfvri). 
He managed to ingratiate himself with the 
Persian monarch Hormizd IV. (579-590), by 
whose influence he was raised to the archiepisco- 
pate ; and he continued to stand in favour with 
his son and successor Khosrau II. Parwez, as well 
as with the Greek emperor Maurice. Doubtless 
both found the Christian archbishop a convenient 
ambassador and agent in public and private 
affairs, for Maurice had given his daughter Maria 
in marriage to Khosrau^. He was also a friend of 
the Arab king of Herta (al-Hirah), Abu Kabus 
Nu'man ibn al-Mundhir, who had been converted 

1 See Hofftnann, Avsziige, p. 117, note 1057. 

2 B.O., ii. 415, iii. 1, 108 ; Bar-Hebrteus, Chron. Eccles.^ ii. 
105, note 3 ; Noldeke, Gesch. d. Perser u. Araber, p. 347, 
note 1. 

3 See Noldeke, op. ci't., p. 283, note 2, and comp. p. 287, 
note 2. 

S. L. 9 



130 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

to Christianity, with his sons, by Simeon, bishop 
of Herta, Sabhr-isho , bishop of Lashom, and the 
monk Isho'-zekha^ On a pastoral visit to this 
part of his diocese, the catholicus was taken ill, 
and died in the convent of Hind (the daughter of 
Nu'man) at al-Hirah. Among his works are 
mentioned 2 a treatise against Eunomius, one 
against a heretical (Monophysite) bishop who had 
entered into argument with him, twenty-two 
questions regarding the sacraments of the churchy 
an apology ■*, and synodical canons and epistles. 

Meshiha-zekha, also called Isho-zekha or 
Zekha-isho', was a monk of Mount Izla^ When 
many of his brotherhood were expelled from their 
convent by Babhai the archimandrite ^ he betook 
himself to the district of Dasen^ and founded 
there a monastery, which was henceforth known 
as Beth Rabban Zekha-isho or, for shortness' 

1 Bar-Hebrseus {Chron. Eccles., ii. 105) tries to make 
out that Nu'man was a Monophysite, and that Isho'-yabh 
was trying to pervert him at the time of his death. But 
in such matters he is hardly a trustworthy witness. 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 108. 

3 See a specimen in Assemani's Catal. of the Vatican 
Library, iii. 280, No. cl, v. 

4 Probably a defence of his doctrines addressed to the 
emperor Maurice ; see B.O., iii. 1, 109, in the note. 

5 B.O., iii. 1, 216, note 1. See above, p. 115, note 2. 

6 Ihid., iii. 1, 88-89. 

7 Hoffmann, Auszilge, p. 202 sq. 



DADH-iSHO'. — BAR-'iDTA. 131 

sake, Beth Rabban simply \ He was the author 
of an ecclesiastical history, which 'Abhd-isho' 
praises as being " exact." 

Dadh-isho' was the successor of Abraham of 
Kashkar as abbot of the great convent on Mount 
Izla^ apparently during the lifetime of the latter, 
who lived to a great age (see above, p. 119)1 He 
composed a treatise on the monastic life and 
another entitled On Silence in Body and in Spirit, 
a discourse on the consecration of the cell, besides 
funeral sermons and epistles. He also translated 
or edited a commentary on The Paradise of the 
Western Monks (probably meaning the Paradise 
of Palladius and Jerome), and annotated the 
works of Isaiah of Scete^ 

Hereabout too is the date of the monk Bar- 
'idta^ the founder of the convent which bears his 
name®, a contemporary of Babhai of Izla and 
Jacob of Beth 'Abhe'. He was the author of a 
monastic history, which is often quoted by Thomas 
of Marga^ and seems to have been a work of 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 216, note 1 ; 255, in the note ; Hoffmann, 
Auszilge, p. 206. 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 98, note 1. 

3 Hoffmann, Aiisziige, p. 173. ^ B.O., iii. 1, 99. 
^ Ibid., ii. 415, col. 2. Pronounce Bar-'itta. 

6 B.O., iii. 2, dccclxxix. ; Hoffmann, Ausziige, p. 181. 

7 Comp. Wright, Catal, p 187, No. 152. 

8 B.O., iii. 1, 453, 458, 471. 

9—2 



132 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

considerable value. He must be distinguished 
from a later Bar-'idta, of the convent of Selibha, 
near the village of Heghla on the Tigris ^ with 
whom Assemani has confounded him-. 

In the Bihl Orient, iii. 1, 230, 'Abhd-isho 
mentions an historian whose name is given by 
Assemani as Simeon Karkhaya, with the additional 
information that he was bishop of Karkha and 
flourished under the patriarch Timothy I. about 
800. His name seems, however, to have been 
wrongly read, and he appears to have lived at a 
much earlier date. At least Elias bar Shinaya 
speaks in his Chronicle^ of one Simeon Barkaya* 
as the author of a chronicle (in at least two books), 
who wrote in the reign of the Persian king 
Khosrau II. Parwez, A. Gr. 902 = 591 A.D. 

[Here may perhaps be mentioned a Syriac 
compilation of uncertain date, the Kethdbhd dha- 
kheydndydthd or Liber naturalium, which has 
been edited and translated into German by 
Ahrens^ It consists of a series of short chapters 
on land and sea animals, and on certain natural 

1 See Hoffmann, Ausziige, p. 181, note 1414. 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 458. 

3 See Kosen, Catal., p. 88, col. 1, 2. 

4 The difference in writing between i-i-^^ and 
I > o- o is not great. The pronunciation of the word 
|„t.^;^ is not quite certain. 

5 [Das " Buck der Naturgegenstdnde,'^ Kiel, 1892. 



SABHR-iSHO'. 133 

objects. Its main contents are taken from a 
Syriac version of the Physiologus : but the author 
has also borrowed from Basil's Homilies on the 
Hexaemeron, and probably from another Syriac 
book on animals. As to the date of compilation 
we can only say that it is later than Basil and 
earlier than 1000 A.D.: from the style of the Syriac 
Noldeke^ is inclined to favour an approach to the 
earlier limit.] 

The name of Sabhr-isho' the catholicus carries 
us over into the 7th century. He was a native of 
Peroz-abadh in Beth Garmai, became bishop of 
Lashom, and was raised to the archiepiscopate in 
596 by the favour of Khosrau IT. Parwez^ On 
the murder of his father-in-law Maurice (Novem- 
ber 602), Khosrau resolved upon war, and took 
the field in 604, when he besieged and captured 
the fortress of Dara, the first great success in a 
fearful struggle of twenty-five years. Bar-He- 
brseus states that Sabhr-isho' accompanied him 
and died during the siege ^; but other authorities 
say, doubtless more correctly, that he died at 
Nisibis^ He is said to have been the author of 
an ecclesiastical history, of which a fragment, 

1 Z.D.M.G., xlv., p. 695.] 

2 B.O., ii. 415, iii. 1, 441 sq. ; Baethgeu, Fnigmente sp'. 
u. arab. Historiker, pp. 36, 119. 

3 Chron. Fccles., ii. 107. 

^ Chron. Ecdes., loc. cit., note 2 : B.C., iii. 1, 441, col. 1. 



134 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

relating to the emperor Maurice, was supposed to 
be extant in Cod. Vat. clxxxiii.; but Guidi has 
shown that this is incorrect, and that the said 
fragment is merely an extract from a legendary 
life of Sabhr-isho' by some later hand {Z.D.M.G., 
xl., pp. 559-561)^ 

About the same time with Sabhr-isho', if 
Assemani be right^, we may place Simeon of Beth 
Garmai, who translated into Syriac the Chronicle 
of Eusebius. This version seems unfortunately to 
be entirely lost. 

With the 7th century begins the slow decay 
of the native literature of the Syrians, to which 
the frightful sufferings of the people during the 
great war with the Persians in its first quarter 
largely contributed^. During all those years we 
meet with scarcely a name of any note in letters, 
more especially in western Syria. Paul of Telia 
and Thomas of Harkel were, it is true, labouring 
at the revised versions of the Old and New 
Testaments in Alexandria^ but even they were 

1 Assemani, Catal., iii. 387. 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 168, 633. 

3 See the remarks of Noldeke in Gesch. d. Ferser u. 
Araher^ p. 299, note 4. 

4 See above, p. 14, sq. Thomas of Harkel also 
compiled a liturgy {B.O., ii. 92, col. 1), and is said to have 
translated from Greek into Syriac five other liturgies 
{ibid., col. 2), viz., those of Gregory Nazianzen, Basil, 



GRiECO-PERSIAN WAR. — ABBOT PAUL. 135 

scared by the Persian hosts, who took possession 
of the city in 615 or 616, shortly after the capture 
of Jerusalem by another army in 614 ^ A third 
diligent worker under the same adverse circum- 
stances was the abbot Paul, who fled from his 
convent in Syria to escape the Persian invasion, 
and took refuge in the island of Cyprus. Here 
he occupied himself with rendering into Syriac 
the works of Gregory Nazianzen^ Of this version, 
which was completed in two volumes in 624, there 
are several old MSS. in the British Museum^ 
This Paul was also the translator of the Octoechus 
of Severus, of which there is a MS. in the British 
Museum, Add. 17134, dated 675^ To this 

Gregory Nyssen, Dionysius the Areopagite, and John 
Chrysostom. 

1 See Noldeke, Gesch. d. Perser u. Araher, pp. 291-292 ; 
Chronique de Michel le Grand^ p. 222 ; Bar-Hebrseus, 
Chron. Syr., p. 99. 

2 SeeB.O., i. 171 ; iii. 1, 23. 

3 See the fine series of MSS. described in Wright's 
CataL, pp. 423-435. One of these is dated 790, another 
845. The other MSS. {ibid., pp. 436-438) seem to contain 
part of the older version of the Nestorians {B.O., iii. 1, 24, 
note 1). 

4 Wright, Catal., p. 330 sq. The translator is wrongly 
described in the codex as " bishop of Edessa " (see above, 
p. 94, note 1). His convent was probably that of Ken- 
neshre, of which both John bar Aphtonya (see above, p. 84) 
and John Psaltes or Calligraphus were abbots. Compare 
B.O., ii. 54. 



136 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

collection he himself contributed a hymn on the 
holy chrism and a translation of the ''Gloria in 
excelsis." 

The name of Marutha^ is the first that deserves 
mention here, more, however, on account of his 
ecclesiastical weight and position than his literary 
merit. He was a native of Shurzak (?), a village 
in the diocese of Beth Nuhadhre-, was ordained 
priest in the convent of Nardus, lived for twenty 
years in the convent of Zakkai or Zacchseus at 
Callinicus (ar-Rakkah), and went thence to Edessa 
for purposes of study. On returning to the East, 
he resided in the convent of Mar Matthew at 
Mosul, where he occupied himself with remodelling 
its rules and orders. He sided with the Mono- 
physite party at the Persian court, and, after the 
death of the physician GabrieP, found it advisable 
to retire to 'Akola (al-Kufah)**. He was elevated 
to the dignity of metropolitan bishop of Taghrith 
in 640, after the establishment of peace between 
the Greeks and Persians^, and was the first real 

1 B.O., ii. 416, 418. 

2 See Hoffmann, AuszUge^ pp. 208-216, but especially 
p. 215. 

3 See above, p. 126. 

* Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., ii. Ill ; B.O., ii. 416. 

^ The circumstances are given in detail by Bar- 
Hebrseus {Chron. Ecdes., ii. 119 5^.) and Assemani {B.O., 
ii. 419). 



MARUTHA OF TAGHRITH. — SEVERUS SEBOKHT. 137 

maphrian (maphreyana) and organizer of the 
Jacobite Church in the East, which so rapidly 
increased in numbers and influence that he was 
called upon to ordain bishops for such remote 
regions as Segestan (Sistan) and Harew (Herat). 
Marutha died in 649. His life was wi^itten by his 
successor Denha\ Marutha compiled a liturgy 
and wrote a commentary on the Gospels, both of 
which are sometimes wrongly assigned to the 
elder Marutha of Maiperkat-. He was also the 
author of short discourses on New (or Low) 
Sunday, and on the consecration of the water on 
the eve of the Epiphany, as well as of some hymns 
and sedras^ 

Contemporary with Marutha, under the pa- 
triarch Athanasius Gammala (died in 631 ■*) and 
his successor John, flourished Severus Sebokht^ 

1 See Brit. Mus. Add. 14645, f. 198 a (Wright, Catal, 
p. 1113). 

2 See .above, p. 46. From the commentary are taken 
the passages quoted in the Catena of Severus. See Asse 
mani, Catal., iii. 11 (on Exod. xv. 25), 24, and Wright 
Catal, p. 910. 

3 See Brit. Mus. Add. 14727, f. 140a; 17267, f. 17b 
17254, f. 164 a; 17128, f. 91b. 

* According to Bar-Hebroeus, Chron. Eccles., i. 275 
B.O., ii. 334. Dionysius of Tell-Mahre gives 644. 

^ On the Persian name SehoJcht see Noldeke, Gesch. des 
Artackstr i Pdpakdn, in Beitriige z. Kunde d. indogerm. 
Sprachen, iv. 49, note 4 ; Gesch. d. Perser 2l Araber, p. 396, 
note 1. 



138 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

of Nisibis\ bishop of the convent of Ken-neshre, 
at this time one of the chief seats of Greek 
learning in western Syria 2. He devoted himself, 
as might be expected, to philosophical and 
mathematical as well as theological studies ^ Of 
the first we have specimens in his treatise on the 
syllogisms in the Analytica Priora of Aristotle, 
his commentary on the Uepl €pfjL7]veca<;, and his 
letters to the priest Aitilaha of Mosul on certain 
terms in the Uepl kppLT^vela^;, and to the perio- 
deutes Yaunan or Jonas on some points in the 
logic of Aristotle ^ Of his astronomical and 
geographical studies there are a few examples in 
Brit. Mus. Add. 14538, fF. 153-155^ such as 
whether the heaven surrounds the earth in the 
form of a w^heel or sphere, on the habitable and 
uninhabitable portions of the earth, on the 
measurement of the heaven and the earth and 
the space between them, and on the motions of 
the sun and moon^ In the Royal Library at 



1 See Wright, Catal, p. 598, col. 1. 

2 See B.O., ii. 335 ; Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., i. 275, 

3 Compare Renan, De Philos. Peripat. ap. Syros, 
pp. 29, 30. 

4 See Brit. Mus. Add. 14660 and 17156 (Wright, Catal, 
pp. 1160-63), and the Catal. of the Royal Library of 
Berlin, Sachau 226, 6, 9. 

5 Wright, Catal, p. 1008. 

^ See Sachau, hied. Syr., pp. 127-134. 



JOHN I. — LIFE OF ALEXANDER. 139 

Berlin there is a short treatise of his on the 
astrolabe \ More or less theological in their 
nature are his letter to the priest and periodeutes 
Basil of Cyprus, on the 14th of Nisan, A. Gr. 976 
(665 A.D.)-, a treatise on the weeks of Daniel^ 
and letters to Sergius, abbot of Shiggar (Sinjar), 
on two discourses of Gregory Nazianzen^ He is 
also said to have drawn up a liturgy l 

John I., Jacobite patriarch of Antioch, was 
called from the convent of Eusebhona at Tell-' Adda 
to the archiepiscopal throne in 631, and died in 
December 648^ Bar-Hebrseus tells us that he 
translated the Gospels into Arabic at the command 
of the Arab emir 'Amr ibn Sa'd. He is better 
known as the author of numerous sedras and other 
prayers, whence he is commonly called Yohannan 
de-sedhrau(hi), or "John of the Sedras." He also 
drew up a liturgy ^ 

[To the 7th century, if we are to accept the 
view proposed by Noldeke, belongs the Syriac 
version of Pseudo-Callisthenes's Life of Alexander 

1 Alter Bestand 37, 2 (Kurzes Verzeic/miss, p. 32). 

2 Same MS., 3. 

3 Wright, CataL, p. 988, col. 2. 

4 Ibid., p. 432, col. 2. 

5 B.O., ii. 463. 

6 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 275 ; B.O., ii. 335. 
But Dionysius of Tell-Mahre .says 650 ; B.O., i. 425. 

■^ Berlin, Sachau 185, 6. 



140 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

the Great, which has been edited and translated 
into English by Budget This version was 
formerly believed to have been made from the 
Arabic, and to be a product of the 10th or 11th 
century. But Noldeke has shown- from an 
examination of the language, and especially the 
forms of the proper names, that the Syriac must 
be a translation from the Pahlavi, and almost 
certainly not later than the 7th century.] 

During the second quarter of this century, 
from 633 to 636, the Muhammadan conquest of 
Syria took place. The petty Arab kingdoms of 
the Lakhmites (al-girah), the Tha'labites and 
Kindites, and the Ghassanites, as well as the 
wandering tribes of Mesopotamia, were absorbed ; 
and the Persians were beaten back into their own 
country, quickly to be overrun in its turn. The 
year 638 witnessed the last effort of the Greek 
empire to wrest Syria from the invaders ; the 
Muslim yoke was no longer to be shaken off. The 
effects of this conquest soon begin to make 
themselves manifest in the literature of the 
country. The more the Arabic language comes 
into use, the more the Syriac wanes and wastes 

1 [^The History of Alexander the Great, Cambridge, 
1889. 

2 Beitriige zur Geschichte des Alexanderroma^is (in Denk- 
schriften der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschafien), 
Vienna, 1890, p. 11, 5^.] 



MUHAMMADAN CONQUEST. — JACOB OF EDESSA. 141 

away; the more Muhammadan literature flourishes, 
the more purely Christian literature pines and 
dwindles ; so that from this time on it becomes 
necessary to compile grammars and dictionaries of 
the old Syriac tongue, and to note and record the 
correct reading and pronunciation of words in the 
Scriptures and other books, in order that the 
understanding of them may not be lost. 

Among the small band of Monophysite scholars 
who made themselves conspicuous during the 
latter half of the 7th century the most famous 
name is that of Jacob of Edessa^ He was a 
native of 'En-debha (the Wolf's well), a village in 
the district of Gumyah (al-Jumah), in the province 
of Antioch. The date of his birth is not men- 
tioned, but it may have been about 640 or a little 
earlier-. He studied under Severus Sebokht at 
the famous convent of Ken-neshre, where he 
learned Greek and the accurate reading of the 
Scriptures. Thence he went to Alexandria, but 
we are not told how long he remained there. 
After his return to Syria he was appointed bishop 

1 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 289 ; B.O., 1. 468, 
ii. 335. Assemani tries hard in vol. i. to prove that he was 
not a Monophysite (p. 470 sg.), but in vol. ii. 337 he gives 
up the attempt in despair. Compare Lamy, Dissert, de 
Syrorum Fide, &c., p. 206 sq. 

2 The dates given in B.O., i. 469, seem to be utterly 
wrono-. 



142 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

of Edessa in 679-680^; but Bar-Hebrseus says 
that he was ordained by the patriarch Athanasius 
II., 684-687, which seems more probable, as they 
were intimate friends. If he was appointed in 
684, the three or four years for which he held this 
office would terminate in 687-688, in which latter 
year Julian Romaya (or "the Soldier ")2 was elected 
patriarch. Apparently Jacob was very strict in 
the enforcement of canonical rules, and thereby 
offended a portion of his clergy. He would seem 
to have appealed to the patriarch and his fellow- 
bishops, who were in favour of temporizing; 
whereupon Jacob burnt a copy of the rules before 
the gate of Julian's convent, at the same time 
crying aloud, " I burn with fire as superfluous and 
useless the canons which ye trample under foot 
and heed not." He then betook himself to the 
convent at Kaisum, a town near Samosata, and 
Habbibh was appointed to Edessa in his stead. 
After a while the monks of Eusebhona invited 
Jacob to their convent, and there he taught for 
eleven years the Psalms and the reading of the 
Scriptures in Greek, the study of which language 
had fallen into desuetude. Owing to disputes 

1 According to the calculation of Dionysius of Tell- 
Mahre, 677 ; see B.O., i. 426. 

2 So called because he had in his younger days served 
along with his father in the imperial army. 



JACOB OF EDESSA. 143 

with some of the brethren " who hated the Greeks," 
he left this house and went to the great convent 
at Tell-' Adda, where he worked for nine years 
more at his revised version of the Old Testaments 
On the death of Habbibh Jacob was recalled to 
Edessa, where he resided for four months, at the 
end of which time he returned to Tell-' Adda to 
fetch his library and pupils, but died there on 5th 
June 7 08 2. In the literature of his country Jacob 
holds much the same place as Jerome among the 
Latin fathers. He was, for his time, a man of 
great culture and wide reading, being familiar 
with Greek and with older Syriac writers. Of 
Hebrew he probably understood very little, but he 
was always ready, like Aphraates, to avail himself 
of the aid of Jewish scholars, whose opinion he 
often cites. He appears before us as at once 
theologian, historian, philosopher, and grammarian, 
as a translator of various Greek works, and as the 
indefatigable correspondent of many students who 
sought his advice and assistance from far and 
near. As a theologian, Jacob wrote commentaries 
on the Old and New Testaments, which are cited 

1 See above, p. 17. 

'^ According to Dionysius of Tell-Maljre, B.O., i. 426, 
A.D. 710 ; but Elias bar Shinaya confirms the earlier date, 
See Baethgen, Fragmente syr. u. arah. Historiker, pp. 40, 
121. 



144 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

by later authors, such as Dionysius bar SalibP 
and Bar-Hebr8eus, as well as in the large Catena 
of the monk Severus^ further, scholia on the 
whole Scriptures, of which specimens may be 
found in S. Ephrwmi Opera Syr.^ and in Phillips's 
Scholia on some Passages of the Old Testament 
(1864)^ His discourses on the six days of creation 
are extant at Leyden and Lyons^ This was his 
latest work, being unfinished at the time of his 
death ; it was completed by his friend George, 
bishop of the Arab tribes. Like many other 
doctors of the Syrian Church, Jacob drew up an 

^ See Bibl. Med. Laurent, et Palat. Codd. Orientt. Catal.^ 
p. 85, No. xlviii. 

2 B.O., i. 487-488 ; Cod. Vat. ciii. {CataL, iii. 7) ; Brit. 
Mus. Add. 12144 (Wright, Catal, p. 908). The former 
MS. contains a brief exposition of the Pentateuch, Job, 
Joshua, and Judges by Jacob, loc. cit., pp. 9-11. 

3 B.O., i. 489-493. 

4 See Brit. Mus. Add. 14483 and 17193, ff. 55 a, 61a; 
compare Cod. Vat. v. {Catal., ii. pp. 12, 13). 

^ Leyden, Cod. 66 (1) Gol. (see Catal. Codd. Orientt., 
V. 69, and Land, Anecd. Syr., i. 2-4) ; Lyons, No. 2 (see 
Neubauer in Archives des Missions scientifiques et litteraires, 
3 ser., vol. i., p. 568, Paris, 1873). The Paris MS. is 
merely a partial copy of the Leyden one (Zotenberg, 
Catal, p. 197). It is cited in Brit. Mus. Add. 14731, f. 98 b 
(Wright, Catal., p. 854, col. 2, at the foot), and in the 
Bodleian Catal., p. 462, No. 5. Another Paris MS. (Zoten- 
berg, Catal., p. 213) contains the punctuation and explana- 
tion of difficult words and phrases in this work. 



JACOB OF EDESSA. 145 

anaphora or liturgy \ and revised the liturgy of 
St James, the brother of our Lord 2. He also 
composed orders of baptism^, of the consecration 
of the water on the eve of the Epiphany ^ and 
of the solemnization of matrimony^, with which 
we may connect his translation of the order of 
baptism of Severus^ and the tract upon the 
forbidden degrees of affinity I The Book of 
Treasures^ contained expositions of the Euchar- 
istic service, of the consecration of the water, and 
of the rite of baptism, probably identical with or 
similar to those which are found separately in 
MSS.^ He likewise arranged the horologium or 

1 B.O.^ i. 476. It is extant in many MSS. 
- 2 iiifji^ . Brit. Mus. Add. 14691, f. 2 b, and elsewhere. 
Whether he was the translator of the anaphora of Ignatius, 
we are unable to affirm or deny. 

3 B.O., i. 477. 

4 Ihid., 486, col. 1. 

^ E.g.^ Zotenberg, Catal, pp. 66, 67. 
^ E.g.^ Rosen, Catal., p. 61, col. 2. 

7 Cod. Vat. xxxvii. {Catal., ii. 244). 

8 B.O., i. 487. 

^ E.g.^ the Eucharist, Berlin, Sachau 218, 4 (addressed 
to the Stylite George of Serugh) ; Brit. Mus. Add. 14496, 
f. 1 a (Wright, Catal., p. 224). The similar exposition 
edited by Assemani (J?. (9., i. 479) is addressed to the priest 
Thomas ; comp. Brit. Mus. Add. 17215, f. 22 b. The con- 
secration of the water, Cod. Vat. cccv., in Mai, Scriptt. 
Vett. Nova Coll., v. The order of baptism, Brit. Mus. 
14496, f. 23 a (a more fragment). 

S. L. 10 



146 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

canonical hours of the ferial days\ and drew up a 
calendar of feasts and saints' days for the whole 
year^. Of his numerous canons^, those addressed 
to the priest Addai have been edited by Lamy, 
Dissert, de Syrorum Fide, &c., p. 98 sq., and De 
Lagarde, Reliquice Juris Eccles. Antiquissimw, 
p. 117 sq.'^ Under this head we may mention the 
Scholion de Diaconissis earumque Munere (Catal. 
Vat, ii. 319) and the Scholion de Foribus Ecclesice 
dum Ordinationes aut alia Sacra celehrantur 
occludendis (Cod. Yat. ccciv., in Mai, Scriptt. Vett 
Nova Coll., v.). Jacob also composed homilies, of 
which a few survive in manuscript : for example — 

(1) that Christians are not to offer a lamb after 
the Jewish fashion, nor oxen and sheep, on behalf 
of the deceased, nor to use pure wine and un- 
leavened bread in celebrating the Eucharist ; 

(2) against the use of unleavened bread; (3) against 
the Armenians as Dyophysites, and because they 
offend against these doctrines^; (4) against certain 

1 Brit. Mus. Add. 14704, Paris, Anc. fonds 73. 

2 See Catal. Vat., ii. 250-272; and comp. Berlin, 
Sachau 39, 4. 

3 B.O., i. 477. 

* See also [Wright's Notulae syriacae and] Kayser, 
Die Cano7ies Jacobs von Edessa ubersetzt und erldutert, 
zum Theil auch zuerst im Grundtext veroffentlicht, 1886. 

^ See Bibl. Med. Laurent, et Palat. Codd. MSS. Orientt. 
Catal, pp. 107-108. 



JACOB OF EDESSA. 147 

impious men and transgressors of the law of God, 
who trample under foot the canons of the church \ 
To these may be added his metrical discourses on 
the Trinity and the incarnation of the word^ and 
on the faith against the Nestoriansl Whether 
the treatise De Causa omnium Gausarum^ really 
belongs to him can hardly be decided till it has 
been published. The remarks in the Bodleian 
Catalogue, p. 585, note, point to a writer of much 
later date. [This question has been decided in 
the negative since Kayser's publication of the 
text and translation of the work^] The loss of 
Jacob's Chronicle is greatly to be regretted ; only 
a few leaves, all more or less mutilated, remain to 
us in Brit. Mus. Add. 14685'. The author's 

1 Wright, Catal., pp. 984, col. 2 ; 996, col. 2. 

2 Catal. Vat., ii. 516. 

^ Ibid., ill. 353. [The text and a Latin translation of 
this homily, by Ugolini, are contained in the volume, Al 
Sommo Pontifice Leone XIII. Ommagio Giuhilare delta 
Bihlioteca Vatieana, Rome, 1888.] 

4 See B.O., i. 461-463. Besides the MS. described by 
Assemani, there are two in the Bodleian Library, Hunt. 
123 (Payne Smith, Catal, 585) and Bodl. Or. 732, and a 
third at Berlin, Sachau 180, with an excerpt in Sachau 
203. 

^ l^Das Buck von der Erkenntniss der Wahrheit, text 
published at Leipzig 1889 ; German translation, Strass- 
burg 1893. Cf. Noldeke, Literarisches Centralblatt for 
1889, No. 30.] 

6 See Wright, Catal, p. 1062. 

10—2 



148 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

design was to continue the Chronicle of Eusebius 
on the same plan, from the twentieth year of the 
reign of Constantino down to his own time. The 
introduction was divided into four sections, the 
first of which treated of the canon of Eusebius 
and the error of three years in his calculation ; 
the second of the dynasties contemporary with 
the Roman empire, but omitted by Eusebius ; the 
third, explained what dynasties were coordinated 
by Jacob with the Roman empire ; and the fourth 
contained separate chronologies of each of these 
dynasties. Then followed the chronological canon, 
beginning with Olympiad cclxxvi. The last 
monarchs mentioned in the mutilated MS. are 
Heraclius I. of Constantinople, Ardasher III. of 
Persia, and the caliph Abu Bakr. This work, 
which was finished by the author in 692 \ has 
been extensively used by subsequent Syrian 
historians, both Jacobite and Nestorian, such as 
Bar-Hebraeus^, Elias bar Shinaya^ &c., and it is 
therefore admitted by 'Abhd-isho into his list of 

1 See Elias bar Shinaya in Rosen, Catal., p. 88, col. 1. 

2 B.O., ii. 313-314. 

2 See, for example, the notes in Abbeloos, Bar-Hehroei 
Chron. Eccles., ii. 55, 103, 107, 123 ; Baethgen, Fragmente 
syr. u. arab. Historiker^ extracted from Elias bar Shinaya, 
p. 3 ; and the anonymous epitomizer in Land, Anecd. Syr., 
i. 2-22, transl. pp. 103-121 (Brit. Mus. Add. 14643; 
Wright, Catal, p. 1040). 



JACOB OF EDESSA. 149 

books (B.O., iii. 1, 229). As a translator of Greek 
works Jacob deserves notice, not so much on 
account of any Aristotelian labours of his\ as 
because of his version of the Homilice Cathedrales 
of Severus, a work of capital importance, which he 
finished in 701 1 He also revised and corrected, 
with the help of Greek MSS., the abbot Paul's 
version of the Octoechus of Severus (see above, 
p. 135)1 The statement of Bar-Hebrseus* that 
Jacob translated the works of Gregory Nazianzen 
seems to be erroneous. He merely retouched, we 
believe, the version of the abbot Paul (see above, 
p. 135), to which he probably added notes, illustra- 
tive extracts from the writings of Severus, and 
Athanasius's redaction of the '^vvaycoyrj koI 
i^7]y7jac<; [aroptwv appended to the homily Li 
Sancta Lumina^. He made the Syriac version of 
the history of the Rechabites as narrated by 
Zosimus, which he is said to have translated from 

1 Even the translation of the Categories in Cod. Vat. 
clviii. {Catal., iii. 306; comp. Renan, De Philos. Peripat. 
ap. Syros^ p. 34) is not by him, but by Sergius of Ras'ain 
(see above, p. 91). 

2 See B.O., i. 494; Cod. Vat. cxli.; Brit. Mus. Add. 
12159, dated 868 (Wright, Catal, p. 534 sq.). 

3 B.O., i. 487; Cod. Vat. xciv., written between 1010 
and 1033; Brit. Mus. Add. 17134, dated 675 (Wright, 
Catal, p. 330 sq.). 

4 B.O., ii. 307, col. 2; iii. 1, 23, col. 1. 

5 See Wright, Catal, pp. 423-427. 



150 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Hebrew into Greek and thence into Syriac\ Of 
philosophical writings of his we may specify the 
Enchiridion, a tract on philosophical terms 2. The 
metrical composition on the same subject con- 
tained in two Vatican MSS. may perhaps also be 
by him^ As a grammarian Jacob occupies an 
important place in Syriac literature. Nestorian 
scholars, such as Narsai and his pupils, more 
especially Joseph Huzaya (see above, p. 115 sq.), 
had no doubt elaborated a system of accentuation 
and interpunction, which vies in minuteness with 
that of the Jews, and had probably begun to store 
up the results of their studies in Massoretic MSS. 
of the Bible, like those of which we have already 
spoken (above, p. 20 sq.). But Jacob was the first 
to give a decided impulse to these pursuits among 
the Western Syrians, and to induce the monks of 
Eusebhona and Tell-' Adda to compile Massoretic 
MSS. like those of their brethren in the East, and 
to pay attention to minute accuracy in the matter 
of the diacritical points and the signs of inter- 

1 See Wright, Catal, p. 1128. 

2 Ihid., p. 984. 

3 Cod. Vat. xxxvi. and xcv. {Gatal., ii. 243 and 516). 
In the latter there are three other poems ascribed to him, 
the first theological, the second with the title De Philo- 
sophis et Bonis Artibus, and the third entitled On the 
Mind. In the MSS. these poems are said to be by Jacob 
of Serugh, which seems altogether unlikely. 



JACOB OF EDESSA. 151 

punction. Hence we usually find appended to 
such MSS. of the Jacobite schools the epistle of 
Jacob to George, bishop of Serugh, on Syrian 
orthography \ and a tract by him on the pointing 
of verbal and nominal forms and on the signs of 
interpunction and accentuation, besides a tract of 
apparently earlier date on the same signs, with 
a list of their names, by Thomas the deacon 2. 
Further, Jacob's acquaintance with the Greek 
language and Greek MSS. suggested to him a 
striking simplification of the system of vowel- 
points which was now probably beginning to be 
introduced among the Easterns^. He saw that 
all the vowel-sounds of the Syriac language, as 
spoken by the Edessenes, could be represented by 



1 See B.O., i. 477 (No. 6) and p. 478 (No. 8). 

2 See, for example, Catal. Vat., ill. 290; Brit. Mus., 
Eosen, pp. 69, 70 (Wright, p. 110); Paris, Zotenberg, 
Catal., p. 30. The letter and tracts have been published 
by Phillips, A Letter hy Mar Jacob, Bishop of Edessa, on 
Syriac Orthography, &c. (1869; the third Appendix, pp. 
85-96, 1870), and Martin, Jacohi epi Edesseni Epistola ad 
Georgium epum Sarugensem de Orthographia Syriaca 
(1869). On the possible identity of Thomas the deacon 
with Thomas of Harkel, see Phillips, third Appendix, 
p. 90. 

^ In the year 899 we find the fully developed Nestorian 
system of vowel-points in use (Brit. Mus. Add. 12138, see 
the facsimile in Wright's Catal., pi. xiii.). We may there- 
fore fairly place its beginnings as early as Jacob's time. 



152 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

means of the Greek vowel letters, a style of 
pointing which would be far clearer to the reader 
than a series of minute dots. Accordingly he, or 
his school, put A for a, o for o (a), e for e, h for i, 
OY for u ; and this system has been adhered to by 
the Western Syrians or Jacobites since his time^ 
Jacob wished, however, to go a step farther, and 
sought to introduce a reform for which his 
countrymen were not prepared. The constant 
perusal of Greek MSS. had accustomed him to 
see the vowels placed on an equality with the 
consonants as an integral part of the alphabet ; 
and, considering how much this contributed to 
clearness of sense and facility of reading, he 

1 The credit of inventing this vowel-system is usually 
given to Theophilus of Edessa, who died in 785-786 {B.O., 
i. 64, 521), though Wiseman brought forward to our mind 
convincing arguments in his Ilorce Syriacce, jjp. 181-188, 
in favour of the claims of Jacob. We have now, however, 
a MS. of Jacob's own time in which these Greek vowels 
are distinctly appended to Syriac words. See Brit. Mus. 
Add. 17134, f. 83 b, in Wright's Catal, p. 337, col. 2, and 
pi. vi. In this plate, the handwriting of which cannot 
well be placed later than about 700, we find in 1. 1 the 
vowel "V- (ypsilon) in the word "jAlDOr^, ^^^ ^^ 1- 23 the 
vowel O ill -..^il^SiD, both in black ink, besides others 
in red ink in lines 6, 17, 18, 21, 22, and 31. No one can 
doubt, we think, that these vowels were added a pr. inanu, 
especially if he compares their forms, particularly the a, 
with those of the Greek letters on the margin of pi. v. 



JACOB OF EDESSA. 153 

desired to see the like done in Syriac. For this 
purpose he himself designed a set of vowel-signs, 
to be written on a line with and between the 
consonants^; and for the purpose of making this 
invention known to his countrymen he wrote a 
Syriac Grammar'^, in which he used them largely 
in the paradigms. The innovation, however, 
found no favour, and the work was supposed to 
be utterly lost, until a few fragments (partly 
palimpsest) were simultaneously discovered by 
the present writer and Dr Neubauer^. Finally, 
amid all his labours as priest and bishop, teacher 
and author, Jacob found time to correspond with 
a large number of persons in all parts of Syria ; 
and these epistles are often among his most 

1 See Bar-Hebrseus in his KethCihhd dhe-Semhe, as 
quoted by Martin, Jacques d'Edesse et lea Voyelles Syri- 
ennes {Journ. Asiat., 1869, vol. xiii. pp. 458-459), or pp. 
194-195 of Martin's edition. Jacob had already before 
him the example of the Mandaites, from whose alphabet 
his figure of ^ for e appears to be borrowed. 

2 B.O., i. 475, 477. 

3 See Brit. Mus. Add. 17217, ff. 37, 38; 14665, f. 28; 
in Wright's CataL, pp. 1168-73. These were reprinted, 
with tlie Oxford fragments (Bodl. 159), by Wright in 
Fragments of the |_»5aTJ ] l \VnV) - joZ or Syriac 
Grammar of Jcwob of Edessa (1871); [and again in the 
Appendix to Merx's Historia Art is Grammaticae apud 
Syros {Ahhandliingen fur die Kunde des Morgenlandes, 
vol. ix.).] 



154 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

interesting writings \ One of his principal corre- 
spondents was John the Stylite of the convent of 
Litarba (Alrap/Sa plur., but also AiTapyov, Av- 
rapyov ; al-Atharib, near Aleppo) ; others were 
Eustathius of Dara, Kyrisona of Dara, the priest 
Abraham, the deacon George, and the sculptor 
Thomas I To the priest Addai he wrote on the 
orders of baptism and the consecration of the 
water^, to the deacon Bar-hadh-be-shabba against 
the council of Chalcedony to the priest Paul of 
Antioch on the Syriac alphabet, in reply to a letter 
about the defects of the said alphabet as com- 
pared with the Greek^ and to George, bishop of 
Serugh, on Syriac orthography (see above, p. 151)^ 
After Jacob we may name his friend Atha- 
nasius of Balad, who also studied under Severus 

1 Some are metrical; see Brit. Mus. Add. 12172, ff. 
65 a, 73 a; 17168, f. 154 a. 

2 See all these in Brit. Mus. Add. 12172, ff. 65-135 
(Wright, Catal, pp. 592-604). Three of these letters have 
been published, two by Wright in the Journal of Sacred 
Literature, new series, x. (1861), p. 430 sq., and one by 
Schroter in Z.D.M.O., xxiv. (1870), pp. 261—300. [Another 
fragment in the chrestomathy attached to Nestie's Gram- 
matica Syriaca.'] 

3 B.O., i. 486, No. 11; Brit. Mus. Add. 14715, f. 170a; 
see also Add. 12144, ff. 47 a, 52 b. 

^ Brit. Mus. Add. 14631, f. 14 b. 
5 B.O., i. 477, No. 7. 

^ [A full account of Jacob's work as a grammarian in 
Merx, op. cit. chaps v. vi. vii.] 



ATHANASIUS II. OF BALAD. 155 

Sebokht at Ken-neshre, and devoted himself to 
the translation of Greek works, philosophical and 
theological, in the convent of Mar Malchus in 
Tur 'Abhdin or at Nisibis, where he for a time 
officiated as priest. He was advanced to the 
patriarchate in 684 and sat till 687 or 688\ In 
the year 645 he translated the Isagoge of Por- 
phyry, with an introduction, which seems to be 
chiefly derived from the preface of the Greek 
commentator Ammonius^; and he also edited a 
version of an anonymous Isagoge, which is found 
in Brit. Mus. Add. 146601 At the request of 
Matthew, bishop of Aleppo, and Daniel, bishop of 
Edessa, he undertook in 669 a translation of select 
epistles of Severus of Antioch, and of these the 
sixth book survives in two MSS.* He also busied 
himself with Gregory Nazianzen, as is evidenced 
by a scholion introductory to the homilies-^ and 
the version of the Xwaycoyrj koX €^r/ryr]aL<; laro- 

1 B.O.,u. 335; Bar-Hebra3iis, Chron. Ecdes., i. 287,293. 
Dionysius of Tell-Mahre places his death as late as 704. 

2 Cod. Vat. clviii. ; Paris, Anc. fonds 161. According 
to Renan, De Philos. Peripat. ap. Syros, p. 30, note 4, the 
MSS. clxxxiii. and cxcvi. of the Bibl. Palat. Medic, contain 
this translation and not that of Honain. 

3 See Wright, Catal., p. 1161, and comp. Renan, op. cit. 
p. 31. 

4 Brit. Mus. Add. 12181 and 14600 (Wright, Catal, 
pp. 558-569). 

5 Wright, Catal, p. 441. 



156 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

pLcop^. The only other writings of his with which 
we are acquainted are an encyclical letter, pro- 
hibiting Christians from partaking of the sacri- 
fices of their Muhammadan rulers^ and a couple 
of sedras^ 

Contemporary with him, and probably an 
alumnus of the same school, was the translator of 
the poems of Gregory Nazianzen, in the year 655, 
whom Assemani calls Senorinus Chididatus of 
Amid^ He has, however, misread the name. 
In the MS., as Professor Guidi informs us, it 
stands »CDa^r-»r-»-0 ^5qjLj, not ^5qJ-». The 
former part of the name seems to be 'lavovdpLo^ ; 
the latter is apparently (as Guidi suggests) a 
corruption of 'Kavhiharo'^. Whether the poems in 
Brit. Mus. Add. 18821 and 14547-^ belong to the 
translation of Januarius Candidatus or not, we 
cannot at present determine. 

Another scholar of note at this time is George, 
bishop of the Arab tribes, the pupil and friend of 
Athanasius II. and Jacob ^. He was ordained. 



1 Wright, CataL, p. 425. 

2 Zotenberg, Catal, p. 28, col. 2. 

3 Wright, Catal., p. 218, col. 1 ; Zotenberg, Catal., 
p. 47, col. 1, No. 23, d. 

4 Cod. Vat. xcvi. {Catal.^ ii. 521); see B.O., ii. cxlix., 
502, col. 2; iii. 1, 23, note. 

s Wright, Catal, pp. 775, 433, col. 1. 

6 B.O., i. 494 ; Bar-Hebr^us, Chron. Eccles.,i. 293, 303 ; 



GEORGE, BISHOP OF THE ARAB TRIBES. 157 

it would seem, in 687 or 688, two months after the 
death of Athanasius, and is said to have died in the 
first year of Athanasius III., who was consecrated 
in April 724. His diocese comprised the 'Akolaye 
or Arabs of 'Akola (al-Kufah), the T^'a^ye (?), the 
Tanukh, the Thalabites, the Taghlibites, and 
in general the nomad Arabs of Mesopotamia. Of 
his works the most important is his translation 
of the Organon of Aristotle, of which there is 
a volume in the British Museum, Add. 14659, 
comprising, in its imperfect condition, the Cate- 
gories, Ylepl kpfJLTjveia^y and the first book of the 
Analytics, divided into two parts, with introduc- 
tions and commentaries ^ Of this version a 
specimen has been edited by Hoffmann, De 
Hermeneuticis, &c., p. 22 sq., besides small frag- 
ments at pp. 30, 38, 45, and 53. He also 
compiled a large collection of scholia on the 
homilies of Gregory Nazianzen, which exhibits 
a wide range of reading'"^, and completed the 

Hoflfmann, De Hermeneuticis apud Syros Aristoteleis, pp. 
148-151 ; Kenan, Be Philos. Peripat. ap. Syros, pp. 32-33. 

1 See Wright, Catal, p. 1163. 

2 Brit. Mus. Add. 14725, ff. 100-215. It was evidently 
written after the death of Athanasius II., as shown by the 
remark on f. 132 a (Wright, Catal, p. 443, col. 1). The 
commentary contained in Brit. Mus. Add. 17197, ff. 1-25 
(Wright, Catal., p. 441) is perhaps that of Ehas, bishop of 
Shiggar (Sinjar), who flourished about 750, and is expressly 
stated {B.O., ii. 339) to have compiled a commentary on 



158 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Hexaemeron of Jacob of Edessa (see above, p. 144)^ 
His other writings are — a commentary, or more 
likely scholia, on the Scriptures, cited in the 
Catena of Severus and by Bar-Hebrseus in his 
Aiisar Raze^; a short commentary on the sacra- 
ments of the church, treating of baptism, the holy 
Eucharist, and the consecration of the chrism^; a 
homily in twelve-syllable metre on the holy chrism 
in two shapes^ ; another homily on solitary monks, 
in heptasyllabic metre ^; and a treatise on the 
Calendar in twelve-syllable metre ^ cited by Elias 
bar Shinaya''. Like Jacob of Edessa, he carried 
on an extensive literary correspondence, of which 
some specimens have luckily been preserved in Brit. 
Mus. Add. 12154, ff. 222-291, dated from 714 to 
718. Several of them are addressed to John the 
Stylite of Litarba, one of whose letters to Daniel, 

the first volume of Gregory Nazianzen (as translated by 
Paul). He followed the older exposition of Benjamin, 
bishop of Edessa. This Benjamin was the writer of a 
letter on the Eucharistic service and baptism (Wright, 
Catal, p. 1004, col. 2). 

1 See Land, Anecd. Syr., i. p. 4. 

2 B.O., i. 494-495; comp. Wright, Catal.,^. 909, col. 2. 

3 Wright, Catal, p. 985. 

4 B.O., i. 332; Catal. Vat, iii. 102, No. 188; Wright, 
Catal., p. 848, No. 78. 

5 Bodleian Catal, p. 425, No. 88. 

6 B.O., i. 495; Catal Vat., iii. 532. 

'' Rosen, Catal., p. 88, Nos. 32, 33; comp. also the 
" Table of the New Moons," in Catal. Vat., ii. 402. 



DANIEL OF SAL AH. 159 

an Arab priest of the tribe of the Tu aye, is 
appended, f. 291. The most important of them is 
one written to the priest and recluse Yeshu' of 
Innib (near 'Azaz, north of Aleppo), part of which 
relates to Aphraates and his works (see above, 
p. 32)1. 

Contemporary with these scholars was Daniel 
of Salah (a village north-east of Midyad in 
Tur-'Abdin)^, who wrote commentaries on the 
Psalms and Ecclesiastes ^ The former was in 
three volumes, and was composed at the request 
of John, abbot of the convent of Eusebius 
at Kaphra dhe-Bhartha (Kafr al-Barah, near 
Apamea)*. There is an abridgement of it in 

1 It has been printed by De Lagarde, Anal. Syr.., 
pp. 108-134, and partly reprinted by Wright, The Homilies 
of Aphraates, pp. 19-37. Eyssel has translated and anno- 
tated it in Ein Brief Georgs, Bischofs der Araber, an d. 
Presbyter Jesus, 1883. [Eyssel has since published a 
translation of a number of this bishop's poems and letters : 
Georgs des Araberbischofs Gedichte und Briefe, Leipzig, 
1891 ; and edited the text of two poems in Reale Accademia 
dei Lhicei, Rome 1892.] 

2 See Hoffmann in Z.D.M.G., xxxii. 741. 

3 According to a note in Payne Smith's CataL, p. 62, 
he was bishop of Telia dhS-MauzSlath ; but at the time 
when he wrote his commentary on the Psalms he was 
certainly only a priest and abbot of a convent (see Wright, 
Catal, p. 605, col. 2). 

^ MSS.— part i., Pss. i.-l., Brit. Mus. Add. 17187; 
part ii., Pss. li.-c, Add. 14679, 14668 (only three leaves) 



160 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Brit. Mus. Add. 17125, f. 81 sq} The commentary 
on Ecclesiastes is known to us only from the 
extracts preserved in Severus's Catena^. 

Regarding George, bishop of Martyropolis^ 
we can add little or nothing to the scanty in- 
formation collected by Assemani^ This scholar 
has, however, made a mistake in placing him 
so early as " circa annum Christi 580." About a 
century later would probably be nearer the 
mark. Two of his pupils were Constantine, 
bishop of ^arran, who may have flourished 
during the latter part of the 7th century, and 
his successor Leo, who lived at the very end 
of it and the beginning of the 8th ^ Constantine 

(see Wright, CataL, pp. 605-606); Cod. Vat. civ., Pss. 
i.-lxviii. {CataL Vat., hi. 297); part iii., Pss. ci.-cl., in 
Arabic, Berlin, Sachau 55. It is frequently cited by Bar- 
Hebrseus in the Ausar Raze., in Severus's Catena., and also 
by Antonius Rhetor (Wright, Catal., p. 831, col. 1). 

1 [Of this an extract is published in the Chrestomathy 
to Nestle's Grammatica Syriaca.'] 

2 Catal. Vat., iii. 17 ; Wright, Catal, p. 909. 

2 I.e., Maiperkat or Maiyafarikin. Assemani calls him 
bishop of Taghrith or Tekrit. 

4 B.O., i. 465; ii. 96. The epistles to Christopher 
against Probus and John Grammaticus of Alexandria, and 
to the monks of the convent of Mar Matthew, are also 
cited in Brit. Mus. Add. 17197 (Wright, Catal, p. 607). 

^ Assemani places Constantine as early as 630 and Leo 
about 640 {B.O., i. 466-467). But in the Catal. Vat. they 
are more correctly described as "uterque S. Johannis 
Damasceni sequalis" (vol. iii. 255). 



PATRIARCH ELI AS. 161 

wrote several controversial works against the 
Monophysites, viz., — an exposition of the creeds 
of the councils of Nicsea and Chalcedon, a treatise 
against Severus (of Antioch), an "anagnosticon" 
concerning an alleged mutilation of the Trisagion^ 
and a reply to a treatise of Simeon (II., Mono- 
physite bishop of Harran)^. Leo's only literary 
effort appears to have been a letter to the 
Jacobite patriarch Elias, whom we have next 
to notice. 

Elias belonged originally to the Dyophysite 
party in the Syrian Church, but was converted 
to the Monophysite sect by the study of the 
writings of Severus. He was a monk of the 
convent of Gubba Barraya, and for eighteen years 
bishop of Apamea (or Famiyah), before he was 
raised to the patriarchate of Antioch (in 709). 
He died in 724 ^ The only work of his known to 
us is an Apology, addressed to Leo, bishop of 
Harran, in answer to a letter from him asking the 
reasons for Elias's change of creed*. It was 

1 These three are mentioned by Assemani, B.O., i. 466. 

2 Wright, Catal, p. 607, col. 2. 

3 B.O., ii. 95, 337; Bar-Ilebraens, Chron. Eccles., i. 297; 
Baethgen, Fragmented pp. 46, 123. Dionysius of Tell- 
MahrO wrongly places his death sonic years later, in 729. 

"* Two MSS. of this work survive, but both imperfect, 
the one at Rome, Cod. Vat. cxlv. {Catai., iii. 253), the 
other in the British ;^[useum, Add. 17197 (Wright, Catal., 
p. 606). 

S. L. 11 



162 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

probably written during the time of his episco- 
pate. In it, besides George of Martyropolis and 
Constantine of Harran, he cites John of Damascus, 
among whose Greek works is a tract against the 
Jacobites, addressed to the bishop Elias in 
defence of Peter, archbishop of Damascus. 

Lazarus of Beth Kandasa is known to us only 
through his disciple George of Beth Neke as the 
compiler of a commentary on the New Testament, 
of which there are two volumes in the British 
Museum, the one (Add. 14682) containing the 
Gospels of St John and St Mark, the other 
(Add. 14683) the third and fourth parts of the 
Pauline epistles from Galatians to Hebrews \ 
The commentary on the epistles is merely an 
abridgement of Chrysostom ; in that on the 
Gospels use is also made of Jacob of Serugh, and 
occasionally of Theodore of Mopsuestia^, Cyril of 
Alexandria, and Ephraim. He also quotes a 
passage of nine lines from the Sibylline oracles 
(ed. Friedlieb, viii. 287-296). At the end of 
part third of the Pauline epistles there is in 
Add. 14683 a chronological section, terminating 
with the accession of the 'Abbasi caliph al-Mahdi 
in 775, which probably fixes the date of the 

1 See Wright, Catal, pp. 608-612. 

2 Sachau, Theodori Mops. Fragmenta Syr.^ pp. 101 and 
62. 



THEOPHILUS OF EDE8SA. 163 

author \ Much later he cannot have lived, as 
Add. 14683 is a MS. of the 10th century, having 
been presented to the convent of St Mary Deipara 
in Skete by the patriarch Abraham (or Ephraim), 
who sat from 977 to 981. In Brit. Mus. Add. 
18295 there is a scholion by Lazarus explanatory 
of a passage in (pseudo-)Dionysius Areopagita^. 

About this time too may have lived the 
chronicler Daniel bar Moses the Jacobite, who 
is cited as an authority by Elias bar Shinaya 
in the years 122, 127, and 131 of the Hijrah, i.e., 
from 740 to 749 A.D.^ 

Theophilus bar Thomas of Edessa^ is stated by 
Bar-Hebrseus^ to have been by religious profession 
a Maronite. He was addicted to the study of astro- 
logy, and an anecdote is related by Bar-Hebrgeus of 
his correspondence with Hasanah, the concubine 
of the caliph al-Mahdi, which fixes the date 
of his death in 785. He was the author of a 

1 The words of George of Beth Nekc, huhhCind dhe- 
dhogmd (Wright, Catal.^ p. 611, col. 2), probably refer to 
the liturgical disputes which arose among the Jacobites 
about this time {B.O., ii. 341) and attained considerable 
importance a little later (p. 34.3). See Bar-Hebrceus, 
Chron. Eccles., i. 331. 

2 See Wright, Catal, p. 1184. 

3 SeeBaethgen, Fragmente, p. 2; Bar-Hebra3us, Chron. 
Eccles.^ ii. 152, note 2. 

4 B.O., i. 521 ; Cardfihi, Liher Thesauri^ p. 39. 

5 Hist. Di/nast., p. 228 (transL, p. 147). 

11—2 



164 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

history, which Bar-Hebrseus cites^ and commends. 
He also translated into Syriac " the two books 
of the poet Homer on the conquest of the city 
of Ilion^." This evidently means a version of the 
entire Iliad and Odyssey, incredible as it may 
appear. De Lagarde w^as, we believe, the first to 
discover citations of this work by Jacob, or Severus, 
bar Shakko, bishop of Mar Matthew, who died 
in 1241^ Cardahi (Liber Thesauri, p. 40) quotes 
the rendering of Iliad ii. 204, but without saying 
where he found it. Theophilus is often spoken of 
as the first to use the Greek vowels in pointing 
Syriac words, but we have seen above (p. 152, 
note 1) instances of their occurrence in MSS. 
older than his time. Perhaps, however, he may 
have finally settled some details of the system 
and assisted in bringing it into more general 
use^ 

George of Be'elthan, a village near Hims, was 
educated at the convent of Ken-neshre, and 
became the syncellus of Theodore, bishop of 

1 Op. cit., p. 98 (transl, p. 63). 

2 Op. cit., p. 228 (transl, p. 148). Also at p. 40 (transl, 
p. 26) Bar-Hebrseus says that "the poet Homer bewailed 
her (fall) in two books, w^hich Theophilus the astrologer of 
Edessa translated from Greek into Syriac." 

3 E.g., Iliad, i. 225, 226 ; vi. 325 ; xvi. 745 
xviii. 26; see The Academy for October 1, 1871, p. 467. 

^ Compare B.O., i. 64. 



GEORGE OF BE'ELTHAN. — CYRIACUS. 165 

Samosata, who prophesied great things of him. 
On the death of Athanasius III. a synod was held 
at Mabb5gh, at the close of 758, when a large 
majority of those present raised George, who was 
only a deacon, to the see of Antioch^ At the 
instigation of the anti-patriarch David, the caliph 
al-Mansur scourged him and threw him into 
prison, where he remained for nine years, till he 
was set free by his son and successor al-Mahdi. 
He was taken ill during one of his diocesan 
journeys at Kalaudiyah (Claudia), in the far 
north of Mesopotamia, and died in the convent of 
Bar-sauma near Melitene (Malatyah), in 790 ^ 
During his long imprisonment George is said to 
have composed many discourses and metrical 
homilies. He was also the author of a com- 
mentary on the Gospel of St Matthew, the unique 
but imperfect MS. of which has been described by 
Assemani in Gated. Vat, iii. 293. 

Cyriacus, a man of Taghritan family^ and a 
monk of the convent of Bizona, otherwise called 
the convent of the Pillar, near Callinlcus, was 

1 The minority appointed as anti-patriarch John of 
Callinicus (ar-Rakkah), who held office for four years 
(J5.0., ii. 340, col. 2) and was succeeded by David, bishop 
of DarJi {ibid.). 

'^ B.O., ii. 340; Baethgen, Fra(/mente, pp. 57, 128; 
Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles.^ i. 319 sq.^ ii. 175. 

3 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Ecdes.^ i. 343. 



166 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

ordained patriarch of the Jacobites in 793, and 
died at Mosul in 817. The record of his troubled 
life may be read in Bar-Hebroeus's Chron. Eccles., 
i. 329 sq.; B.O., ii. 116, 341-344. In the year 
798 he endeavoured to effect a union with the 
Julianists, whose patriarch was Gabriel, and a 
creed was drawn up and signed by them and 
sundry other bishops, which has been preserved 
in Brit. Mus. Add. 17145, £ 27 b\ Besides an 
anaphora^ and canons ^ he wrote a homily on 
the parable of the vineyard* and a synodical 
epistle on the Trinity and the Incarnation ad- 
dressed to Mark, patriarch of Alexandria, which is 
extant only in Arabic ^ 

The number of Nestorian writers during the 
7th and 8th centuries is relatively much larger 
than that of Jacobite, and the loss of many of 
their writings is much to be regretted, especially 
those bearing on ecclesiastical and political history. 
Want of space compels us, however, to omit many 
names which we would otherwise gladly have 
noticed. 

1 See Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 335. 

2 Wright, Catal, pp. 206, 210. 

3 Wright, Catal, p. 222, col. 2; Zotenberg, Catal.y 
p. 28, No. 54. 

4 Brit. Mus. Add. 14727, f. 110 a (Wright, Catal, 
p. 887). 

5 B.O.,u. 117. 



BABHAI THE ARCHIMANDRITE. 167 

Our list begins with the name of Babhai the 
archimandrite \ called Babhai the Elder, to dis- 
tinguish him from the later Babhai bar Nesibhnaye. 
He was a native of the village of Beth 'Ainatha 
or Ba-'ainatha in Beth Zabhdai, and succeeded 
Mar Dadh-isho' (see above, p. 131) as abbot of the 
great convent on Mount Izla. On the death of 
the catholicus Gregory of Kashkar in 607 (see 
above, p. 126) a time of persecution followed, 
during which the Nestorian Church was ruled by 
Babhai with a firm and skilful hand. The 
bishops of Nisibis, Hedhaiyabh, and Karkha 
dhe-Beth Selokh (or Beth Garmai) entrusted him 
with the duties of inspector of convents, with the 
express object of rooting out all who held the 
doctrines of the MesalleyZine-, as well as the 
followers of Hannana of Hedhaiyabh and Joseph 
of Hazza^. So well did he acquit himself in this 
post^ that, after the murder of Khosrau II. in 628, 
when his successor Kawadh II. Sheroe permitted 
a synod to be held, he would have been unanimously 
elected to the dignity of catholicus, had he only 
given his consent, in default of which the choice 

1 See B.O., iii. 1, 88 sq., 472; Hoftmanii, Auszilge, pp. 
121, 161, 173. 

'^ See B.O., iii. 1, 101 ; Bar-Hebracu.s, Chron. Eccles., i. 
573. 

3 See above, pp. 124-128. 

4 See B.O., iii. 1, 88, 89, 473. 



168 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

fell upon Isho'-yabh of Geclhala (628-644). As a 
writer Babhai Avould seem to have been very 
prolific, for no less than eighty-three or eighty- 
four works are set down to his accounts The 
principal of these, as enumerated by 'Abhd-isho', 
are — a commentary on the whole text of Scrip- 
ture ; on the commemorations of the Blessed 
Virgin Mary and St John, and other commemora- 
tions and feasts throughout the year; on the 
reasons of the celebration of Palm Sunday and 
of the festival of the holy cross ^ ; a discourse on 
the union (of the two natures in our Lord, against 
the Monophysites)^^; exposition of the Centuries of 
Evagrius"*; exposition of the discourses of Mark 
the monk (on the spiritual law)^; rules for 
novices ; canons for monks ; (controversial) letters 
to Joseph Hazzaya ; history of Diodore of Tarsus 
and his followers; on Matthew the wanderer, 
Abraham of Nisibis, and Gabriel Katraya^. To 
these must be added an account of the life and 
martyrdom of his contemporary George, a convert 
from Zoroastrianism, whose heathen name was 



1 B.O., iii. 1, 94, and note 1. 

2 See next paragraph. 

3 See Catal. Vat, iii. 372. 

4 Ibid., iii. 367 sq. 

5 Brit. Mus. Add. 17270 (Wright, Catal, p. 482). 
^ That is, of Katar, on the coast of al-Bahrein. 



ISHO'-YABH II. OF gEdHALA. 169 

Mihramgushnasp\ and a few hymns, contained in 
Nestorian psalters^. 

The successor of Babhai was, as we have just 
mentioned, Isho'-yabh II. of Gedhala^ who was 
elected in 628 and sat till 644^ He studied at 
Nisibis, and was bishop of Balad at the time of 
his elevation to the patriarchate. He was sent in 
630 by Boran, the daughter of Khosrau II., on an 
embassy to Heraclius, the emperor of Constanti- 
nople, whom he met at Aleppo, and to whom, we 
are told, he restored the holy cross, which had 
been carried off by the Persians when they captured 
Jerusalem in 614^. Foreseeing the downfall of 
the enfeebled Persian monarchy, Isho'-yabh pru- 
dently made conditions on behalf of his flock with 
the Muhammadan ruler, it is said through the 
intervention of a Christian chief at Najran and of 

1 Brit. Miis. Add. 7200, f. 14; Hoffmann, Ausziige, pp. 
91 sq., 173. 

2 K(/., Brit. Mas. Add. 7156, 17219; see Bickell, 
Co7is]oectus, pp. 37, 38. 

2 Judal, near Mosul. 

•* B.O., ii. 416-418, iii. 1, 105, 475; Bar-Hebr£eus, 
Chron. Eccles., iii. 113 and note 1, 127 and note 3; 
Baethgen, Fragjuente, pp. 13, 19, 108, 111. 

^ This, however, seems to have been given back by 
Ardasher III. in 628-629, as the festival to celebrate its 
restoration took place at Jerusalem in 629; see Bar- 
Hebraeus, Chron. Bccles., ii. 113; B.O., iii. 1, 96, note 3, 
105-106; Noldeke, Gesck. d. Perser u. Araber, pp. 391-392. 



170 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Yeshu' (or Isho'), bishop of that placed The deed 
or ordinance containing the terms of agreement 
was renewed and confirmed by 'Omar ibn al- 
Khattab^. According to 'Abhd-isho', the principal 
writings of Isho'-yabh were a commentary on the 
Psalms and sundry epistles, histories, and homilies. 
A hymn of his occurs in the Nestorian psalter 
Brit. Mus. Add. 14675=^. 

Sahdona of Halamun, a village in Beth Nu- 
hadhre^ was educated at Nisibis, and became a 
monk under Mar Jacob, the founder of the famous 
convent of Beth 'Abhe^ Here he composed a 
treatise in two volumes on the monastic life, 
besides a history of his master, and a funeral 
sermon on him^ He became bishop of Mahoze 
dh' Are wan in Beth Garmai'', and was one of the 
Nestorian clergy who accompanied Isho'-yabh of 
Gedhala on his embassy to Heraclius. Whilst 
halting at Apamea, Isho'-yabh, John the Nestorian 
bishop of Damascus, and Sahdona tried their hand 

1 B.O., ii. 418, iii. 1, 108, col. 1; Bar-Hebr^us, Chron. 
Ecdes.y ii. 115. Bar-Hebrseus names Muhammad himself, 
but it was more likely Abu Bakr (632-633). 

2 See ^. a, iii. 1, 108, col. 1. 

3 Wright, Catal, p. 130, col. 2. 

4 Hoffmann, Ausziige, p. 215. ^ Jhid., p. 226. 
« B.O., iii. 1, 453, 462. 

'' See B.O.y iii. 1, 116, col. 1, at the foot. Assemani 
pronounces the name Aryim, but Are wan is more Hkely to 
be correct. See Hoffmann, Ausziige, p. 277. 



SAHDONA. — iSHo'-YABH III. OF H^DHAIYABH. 171 

at converting the monks of a neighbouring (Jaco- 
bite) convent, the result of which was that Sahdona 
himself was converted \ and afterwards wrote 
several heterodox works. This incident caused 
much scandal in the East, as may be seen from 
the numerous letters which Isho'-yabh of Hedhai- 
yabh, another member of the embassy, found it 
necessary to write upon the subject^. 

This Isho'-yabh was the son of a wealthy 
Persian Christian named Bas-tuhmag, of Kuphlana 
in Hedhaiyabh or Adiabene, who used often to 
visit the convent of Beth-'Abhel He was edu- 
cated at the school of Nisibis, became bishop of 
Mosul, and afterwards metropolitan of Hazza 
(Arbel or Irbil) and Mosul. The chief event of 
his rule at Mosul seems to have been that he 
hindered the Jacobites from building a church in 
that city^ notwithstanding that they were sup- 
ported by all the weight and influence of the 

1 We cannot see that Assemani has any ground for 
asserting that Sahdona was converted "ab erroribus 
Nestorianis ad Catholicam veritatem" {B.O.^ iii. 1, 107, 
col. 1; comp. col. 2, 11. 10-12, and p. 120, col. 2, 11. 
11-13). 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 116-123. Bar-Hobrajus {Chron. Eccles., 
ii. 113) spitefully improves the occasion by making out 
that the catholicus Isho'-yabh of Gddhala himself was the 
pervert. 

3 B.O., iii. 1, 472; Hoffmann, AiiszUge, p. 226. 

4 /?.a, iii. 1, 114-115. 



172 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Taghritans\ Bar-Hebrgeus declares that he bribed 
right and left to effect this 2. He was one of those 
who accompanied Isho'-yabh of Gedhala on his 
embassy to Heraclius^ and stole a very costly and 
beautiful casket, containing relics of the Apostles, 
from a church at Antioch, the which he conveyed 
(apparently quite openly and shamelessly) to the 
convent of Beth 'Abhe^ On the death of Mar- 
emmeh^ (who sat 644-647)^ he was elevated to 
the dignity of catholicus'', which he held till 657- 
65 8 ^ In his desire to do something for the pro- 
motion of learning he wished to found a school in 
the convent of Beth 'Abhe, where he had built a 
magnificent church, but the abbot Kam-isho' and 

1 Taghrith was ahvays strongly Jacobite, and the 
Nestorians had no church there till 767 (see B.O.^ iii. 1, 
111, note 4; Hoffmann, AuszUge, pp. 190-191; Bar- 
Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 155-157). 

2 Chron. Eccles., ii. 127. 

3 B.O., iii. 1, 106, col. 1. 

^ There is no reason to doubt the circumstantial recital 
of a Nestorian writer, B.O.^ iii. 1, 106, col. 2, 475. Strange 
to say, Assemani does not improve this occasion ! 

^ Properly Mar(i)-emmeh (see 5.O., ii. -389, col. 2, 
No. 29). 

6 According to others, 647-650; B.O., ii. 420, iii. 1, 
113, 615. 

7 In 647 or 648. 

8 Or, according to the other reckoning, till 660, B.O.^ 
locc. citt. He predeceased the maphrian Denha, who died 
in 660 (Bar-Hebraeus, Chro7i. Eccles., ii. 129, 131). 



iSHO'-YABH III. OF HEDHAIYABH. 173 

the rest of the lazy brotherhood would have none 
of this, and preferred to quit the convent and 
withdraw to the neighbouring village of Herpa in 
Saphsapha^ Hereupon the catholicus gave up 
this part of his plan and built his college in his 
father's village of Kuphlana (or Kulpana)^ Soon 
afterwards he found himself involved in another 
and more serious dispute with Simeon, the metro- 
politan of Rev-Ardasher^ in Persis and of the 
Katraye^ who refused obedience to him as his 
diocesan ; and this led to a lengthy correspondence, 
regarding which see B.O., iii. 1, 127-136. His 
works, as enumerated by 'Abhd-isho', are — Hup- 
pdkh Hushshclbhe or " Refutation of (Heretical) 
Opinions ^" written for John, metropolitan of Beth 
Lapat*', and other controversial tracts, consolatory 
and other discourses, various hymns'', and an 

1 See Hoftmann, AuszUge, pp. 223, 227. 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 124-125. 

3 Or Keshahr (Yakut) ; see Noldeke, Gesch. d. Perser v.. 
Araher, p. 19, note 4. 

* Or Arabs of Katar, on the Persian Gulf, and the 
adjacent districts. See B.O., iii. 1, 136. 

5 B.O., iii. 1, 137, note 1. 

<5 B.O., iii. 1, 138, col. 1 ; Noldeke, Gesch. d. Perser u. 
Araher, p. 41, note 2 ; Hoffmann, AuszUge, p. 41, note 351. 

'' The composition on the martyr George quoted by 
Cardah! {Liber Thes., pp. 124-125) is probably of much 
later date. At least we should not expect such artificial 
riming in the 7th century. 



174 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

exhortation to certain novices. He arranged the 
Hiidhra^ or service-book for the Sundays of the 
whole year, for Lent, and for the fast of Nineveh^, 
and drew up offices of baptism^, absolution*, and 
consecration ^ He also wrote a history of the 
monk Isho'-sabhran, a convert from the religion 
of Zoroaster and a Christian martyr^. A large 
collection of his letters is extant in Cod. Vat. clvii. 
{Gated., iii. 299), a judicious selection from which 
would be worth printing''. 

'Anan-ish5'^ of Hedhaiyabh and his brother 
Isho'-yabh were fellow-students at Nisibis with 
Isho'-yabh III., and afterwards entered the great 
convent on Mount Izla. Isho'-yabh subsequently 
became bishop of Kardaliyabhadh^ ; but 'Anan- 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 139, 144, col. 2. 

2 See Badger, The JVestorians, ii. p. 22. 

3 Brit. Mus. Add. 7181 (Rosen, Catal, p. 59). 

"^ E.g., of apostates and heretics, Catal. Vat, ii. 307, 
367 ; of i^ublic penitents, ibid., 291, Brit. Mus. Add. 7181 
(Rosen, Catal., p. 59). 

5 E.g., the consecration of an altar with the chrism, 
Catal. Vat., ii. 302, 368 ; see also ibid., 294, where canons 
of his are given, and Cod. Vat. ccxci., in Mai, Scriptt. Vett. 
Nova Coll., v. 

6 Catal. Vat., iii. 328 ; B.O., iii. 1, 285, note 2, and 
p. 633. 

7 B.O., iii. 1, 140-143. 

8 Properly 'Ana-n(i)-IshO' ; see E.G., iii. 1, 144-146 ; 
Hoffmann, OpiLsc. Nestor., p. iv. 

9 The older name of Shenna dhe-Bheth Remman, in 



'ANAN-iSHO'. 175 

isho' was seized with a fit of wandering, and 
visited Jerusalem, whence he went on to the 
desert of Skete in Egypt, and made himself 
thoroughly acquainted with the lives and habits 
of its monks, regarding whom he had read so 
much in the Pm^adise of Palladius. On his return 
he soon forsook the great convent, because of 
dissensions that had arisen in it, and betook 
himself with his brother to the convent of Beth 
'Abhe, where he devoted himself to study, and so 
distinguished himself that he was employed by 
Isho'-yabh III. to assist in arranging the Hudhra 
(see above). 'Anan-isho' wrote a volume of 
philosophical divisions and definitions, with a 
copious commentary, dedicated to his brother \ 
and compiled a work on the correct reading and 
pronunciation of difficult words in the writings of 
the fathers-, thus following in the footsteps of 
Joseph Huzaya (see above, p. 116), and anticipating 
Jacob of Edessa and the monks of the convent of 
Karkaphetha (see above, p. 20 sq.). He was also 
the author of a treatise entitled Liber Canonum 
de u^quilitteris, i.e., on the different pronunciation 
and signification of words that are spelt with the 

Arabic Sinn Ba-rinimil., or simply as-Sinn ; see Hoffmann 
Ausziige, pp. 189, 253. 

1 i?.0., iii. 1, 144, col. 2, near the foot. 

2 Ihid., iii. 1, 144. 



176 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

same letters. This has been published, with the 
additions of Honain ibn Ishak of al-Hirah (died 
in 873) and another compiler, by Hoffmann, 
Opuscula Nestoriana, pp. 2-49 \ His greatest 
work, however, was a new recension or redaction, 
in two volumes, of the Paradise of Palladius and 
Jerome, with additions collected by himself from 
other sources and from his own experienced This 
he compiled at the request of the patriarch 
George, and it became the standard work on the 
subject in the Nestorian convents^. 

John of Beth Garmai (Garmekaya), called 
John the Elder, was a disciple of Jacob of Beth 
'Abhe, and his successor as abbot of that convent. 
After a few months, however, he secretly fled 
from Beth 'Abhe and betook himself to a hill 
near Dakuka'' in Beth Garmai, where the monas- 
tery of Ezekiel'^ was soon afterwards built, in 

1 From a MS. in the India Office Hbrary, London. 
There is another copy in the collection of the S.P.C.K., 
now at Cambridge. 

2 See B.O., ii. 493 ; iii. 1, 49, 145, col. 2, 151, col. 1, 
middle. 

^ The Illustrations of the Book of the Paradise in Brit. 
Mils. Add. 17263, 17264 (Wright, Catal, pp. 1078-80) and 
Orient. 2311 seems to be a different work. The author of 
it is said to have been a Katraya, " a native of Katar," 
which 'Anan-Isho' was not. 

^ Hoffmann, AuszUge, p. 273. 

^ So called from its founder ; see Hoftmann, ojo. cit., 
p. 274, note 2154. 



SABHR-iSHO' RUSTAM. 177 

which he ended his days\ His works, according 
to 'Abhd-isho'2, are — a collection of heads of 
knowledge or maxims, rules for novices, a brief 
chronicle, histories of Abraham, abbot of the 
great convent on Mount Izla, of the monk Bar- 
'idta^ and of Mar Khodhahwai, the founder of 
the convent of Beth Hale (near al-Hadithah, by 
Mosul), with a discourse and hymns on the last 
named. 

Sabhr-isho' Rustam^ was a native of a village 
called Herem, in Hedhaiyabh, and entered the 
great convent on Mount Izla under the abbot 
Narsai, the successor of Babhai. Here, at the 
request of the monks, he wrote a tract on the 
occasion of the celebration of Golden Friday, and 
also a large volume of disputations against 
heresies and other theological questions. He 
migrated thence, perhaps along with Narsai, to 
Beth 'Abhe, where, however, he resided only for a 
short time, being invited by the monks of Beth 
Kuka-^ to become their prior. Here he composed 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 203-204, 474. But he must have Hved 
till after 661, for Mar Khodhahwai was still alive in that 
year {B.O.^ iii. 1, 151, near the top). 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 204. 

3 Ibid., iii. 1, 467, col. 2, ch. 4. 

4 Ibid., iii. 1, 454-455. 

s On the Great Zilb, in HSdhaiyabh, see Hoffmann, 
AiLSZuge^ p. 215, note 1715. 

S. L. 12 



178 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

eight discourses on the dispensation of our Lord, 
the conversion of the various countries by the 
Apostles, and on continence and the monastic life. 
Further, at the request of Mar Kardagh, the 
syncellus of Isho'-yabh III., he wrote lives of 
Isho'-Zekha (of the convent of Gassa), of Isho'- 
yabh III., of Abraham abbot of Beth 'Abhe, who 
came thither from the convent of Zekha-ish6'\ of 
Kam-isho' abbot of Beth 'Abhe^, of Abraham of 
Nethpar, of Rabban lyobh (or Job) the Persian, 
and of the elder Sabhr-isho', the founder of the 
convent of Beth Kuka^ to which may be added 
the lives of the brothers Joseph and Abraham ^ 

George, the pupil and successor of Isho'-yabh 
III., was a native of Kaphra in Beth Gewaya, a 
district of Beth Garmai^ His parents were 
wealthy, and owned two farms in the neighbour- 
hood of the convent of Beth 'Abhe. Being sent 
to take charge of these, he got acquainted with 
the monks and ultimately joined their body. 
When Isho'-yabh was promoted to the patriarch- 
ate, he appointed George to be metropolitan of 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 468, col. 1, at the top. 

2 Who died in 652 ; see Baethgen, Fragmente, pp. 21, 
112. 

3 B.O., ii. 418, col. 2. 

4 Ihid.^ iii. 1, 228, col. 1, near the foot. 

5 Ihid., ii. 421, iii. 1, 149 ; Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., 
ii. 131, 133 ; Hoffmann, Auszilge, p. 277. 



GEORGE OF KAPHRA. — ELIAS OF MERV. 179 

Hedhaiyabh in his stead ^; and, on the death of 
his friend, George succeeded to the patriarchate 
in 661, and sat till 680. As an author he is not 
of much account, having written merely a few 
homilies, with hymns and prayers for certain 
occasions, and published nineteen canons^ His 
too in all probability is the " epistola dogmatica " 
contained in Cod. Vat. cccclvii., p. 360^ 

Elias, bishop of Maru or Merv, was one of 
those who were present at the death of Isho'-yabh 
III. and elected George as his successor^ He 
compiled a Catena patrum (Mallephanutha dhe- 
Kadhndye) on the four Gospels, and wrote 
commentaries on Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs, 
Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, Ecclesiasticus, 
Isaiah, the twelve minor Prophets, and the 
epistles of St Paul. His letters would probably 
be of some interest to us, and the loss of his 



1 He must be distinguished from two other Georges, 
Persians by race, also disciples of Isho'-yabh, viz., George, 
bishop of Perath dS-Maishan or al-Basrah, and George, 
bishop of Nisibis, the latter of whom is the author of a 
well-known hymn (see B.O.y iii. 1, 456 ; Bickell, Con- 
spectus, p. 38), often found in Nestorian psalters, e.g., 
Eosen, Catal., p. 14, w ; Wright, Catal., p. 131, col. 1 ; 
Munich Catal, Cod. Syr. 4, p. 112. 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 153. 

3 Mai, Scriptt. Vett. Nova Coll., v. 
** B.O., ii. 420. 

12—2 



180 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

ecclesiastical history, to which 'Abhd-isho' applies 
the epithet of " trustworthy " is to be regretted^ 

Of Daniel bar Maryam we can only say that 
he flourished under Ish5'-yabh III. of Hedhaiyabh, 
about 6 50 2. He wrote an ecclesiastical history in 
four volumes, and an explanation of the calendar. 
The history is cited by George of Arbel in the 
10th century for the date of the destruction of 
Jerusalem^. 

Gabriel, surnamed Tauretha, was a native of 
the province of Siarzur or Shahrazur^ He studied 
at Nisibis, and then entered the great convent on 
Mount Izla, where he took part in a controversy 
with the Monophysite monks of the convent of 
Kartamin (near Mardin) and against Sahdona. 
He afterwards migrated to Beth 'Abhe, where he 
wrote a life of Mar Narsai the abbot, an account 
of the martyrs of Tur Bera'in or Tur Beren 
(Adhurparwa, Mihrnarsai, and their sister Mah- 
dokht, in the ninth year of Sapor II.), a homily for 
the washing of the feet, &c.^ He became abbot of 



1 B.O., iii. 1, 148. 

2 Ihid., ii. 420 ; iii. 1, 231. 

3 Ibid., iii. 1, 521. 

'* See Hoffmann, AuszUge^ j). 43, notes 364, 365, 
p. 254 sq. 

^ B.O., iii. 1, 456-458; Hoffmann, Ausziige, pp. 9-16, 
from Brit. Mus. Add. 12174 (Wright, Catal, p. 1133). 



HfiNAN-iSHO' I. 181 

Beth 'Abhe under the catholicus Henan-isho' L 
(686-701)\ 

Henan-isho' I., called the Elder or the Lame 
(hegMra), was appointed catholicus in 686 ^ in 
succession to John bar Marta^ the follower of 
George. He was opposed by Isho'-yabh of al- 
Basrah, whom he threw into prison, but afterwards 
released on his making his submission. A more 
serious rival was John of Dasen, bishop of Nisibis, 
surnamed the Leper, who curried favour with the 
caliph 'Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan and procured 
the deposition of Henan-ish5', whose place he 
occupied for nearly two years ^ Bar-Hebrseus 
adds^ that John put him for some days into 
prison, and then sent him off to a convent among 
the mountains in charge of two of his disciples, 
who threw the luckless catholicus down a precipice 
and left him there for dead. Luckily he was 
found by some shepherds, who took good care of 
him, though he seems to have been lame ever 
after. On his recovery he withdrew to the 

1 Bar-sauma was abbot at the beginning of Hgnan- 
Isho's patriarchate ; see B.O.^ iii. 1, 457, col. 1. 

'^ Bar-Hebra3us, Chron. Eccles., ii. 135 ; Baethgen, Frag- 
mente, pp. 32, 117 ; B.O., ii. 423. 

3 He sat 680-682; B.O., ii. 422, iii. 1, G15 ; Bar- 
Hebrieiis, Chron. Ecdcs., ii. 133. 

* Baethgen, Fragmoite^ pp. 34, 35, 118, 119. 

s Chron. Fccles., ii. 135 sq. ; B.O., ii. 423. 



182 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

convent of Yaiman (or Jonah) ^ near Mosul, where 
he stayed till the death of his rival. He continued 
to rule the Nestorian Church till 701 2, and was 
buried in the convent of Jonah 3. Besides com- 
posing homilies, sermons, and epistles, he was the 
author of a life of Sergius Dewadha^ of Darau- 
karah or Daukarah, near Kashkar, who was a 
contemporary of his. He also wrote a treatise On 
the Twofold Use of the School or university as a 
place of moral and religious training as well as of 
instruction in letters, and a commentary on the 
Analytics of Aristotle ^ 

Presumably to this century belong two eccle- 
siastical historians who are known to us only 
from the Chronicle of Elias bar Shinaya. Alaha- 
zekha is quoted by him in regard to events that 
took place in 594-596 and 6061 Perhaps he is 
identical with that Alaha-zekha to whom we find 

1 B.O., ii. 424, note 3. Bar-Hebraeus calls it "the 
convent of John." 

2 According to Elias bar Shinaya in Baethgen, Frag- 
mente, pp. 38, 120. Others say 699. 

3 His Arab biographer and co-religionist adds that his 
grave was opened 650 years afterwards, and his body found 
undecayed and looking as if he slept. 

4 Not Dudha. The word means " liable to fits," " epi- 
leptic," " crazy." 

5 B.O., iii. 1, 154. 

<5 See Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles.^ ii. 106, note 3, 107, 
note 3. 



NESTORIAN CHRONICLE. — DAVID OF B. RABBAN. 183 

Isho'-yabh III. writing a letter whilst he was yet 
bishop, consequently in the earlier part of the 
century^ Mikha or Micah is cited by Elias as an 
authority for the years 594-596 and 6051 

[Here also may be mentioned the anonymous 
chronicle, of Nestorian origin, published by Guidi 
in the transactions of the Stockholm Congress =^ 
It extends from the death of Hormizd IV. to 
the fall of the Sassanian empire, and the final 
redaction is assigned by Noldeke with much 
probability to circa A.D. 670-680.] 

Passing over into the 8th century, we may 
mention David of Beth Rabban, that is, of the 
convent of Zekha-ish5', afterwards of Beth 'Abhe, 
who was the author of a monastic history, called 
The Little Paradise, which is frequently cited by 
Thomas of Marga. Its first chapter contained 
anecdotes relative to George Neshraya, Nathaniel, 
and other monks of Beth 'Abhe, who lived under 
Henan-isho' I., towards the end of the 7th 
century*. David attained episcopal dignity, 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 141, No. 35. 

2 See Bar-Hebrcciis, Chron. Ecdes., ii. 106, note 3, 107, 
note 2. 

3 [Also separately under the title Un nuovo testo sinaco 
sulla stof'ia degli ultimi Sassanidi (Leydcn, Brill, 1891). 
German translation and commentary by Noldeke in Sitz- 
ungshenchte of the Vienna Academy, 1893.] 

4 B.O., iii. 1, 217, col. 2, 218, col. 1 ; see also pp. 49, note 
1, 184, col. 1, 1. 1. 



184 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

though we do not know the name of his see. 
He wrote also a geographical treatise TJ2-)on the 
Limits of Climates or Countmes, and the Variations 
of the Days and Nights^. 

Babhai bar Nesibhnaye (so called because his 
parents were of Nisibis) flourished under the 
catholicus Selibha-zekha (713-729), the successor 
of Henan-isho' ^. He was a native of Gebhilta or 
Jabilta in Tirhan^, and is described by Thomas of 
Marga as being a tall, powerful man, with a 
magnificent voice, gentle and modest, and learned 
withal. He devoted himself to the reformation 
of the musical services of the Nestorian Church, 
which had fallen into sad confusion, and founded 
many schools, more particularly in the dioceses of 
Hedhaiyabh and Marga, with the special object 
of promoting the study of church music. The 
most important of these were at Kephar-'Uzzel^ 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 255. The poems referred to by Assemani 
in note 1 are no doubt of much later date. The first of 
them is edited by Cardahl in his Liher Thesauri, pp. 41-46. 
Cardahl places David's death " in the year 800." Twenty- 
two very artificial poems " on the love of wisdom," ascribed 
to him, are printed in the Directorium Spirituale of John 
of Mosul, edited by the bishop Elias John Millos, 1868, 
pp. 172-214. 

2 According to Elias bar Shinaya, in Baethgen, Frag- 
mente, pp. 42, 47, 122, 124. Assemani {B.O., ii. 430) gives 
714-728. 

3 Hoffmann, Atisziige, p. 188. * Ibid., p. 236 sq. 



BABHAI BAR NESIBHNAYE, &C. 185 

in Hedhaiyabh and Bashush in the district of 
Saphsapha in Marga\ At the former he took up 
his residence, but used to visit and inspect the 
others once a year. In his latter years he 
returned to Gebhilta and died there. He wrote 
discourses and homilies of different kinds, numerous 
hymns for various occasions, histories (of holy 
men), and letters^. 

Bar-Sahde of Karkha dhe-Bheth Selokh 
flourished, according to Assemani, under the 
catholicus Pethion (731-740)^. 'Abhd-isho' states 
that he wrote an ecclesiastical history'' and a 
treatise against the Zoroastrian religion. 

When Babhai the Nisibene was residing at 
Kephar-'Uzzel (see above), a woman from the 
village of Beth Saiyadhe brought to him her 
crippled son, whom she called " only half a man," 
and begged him to bless him. "This is no half 
man," was the gentle monk's reply ; " this shall 
be a father of fathers and a chief of teachers ; his 

1 Hoffmann, Ausziige, p. 223. 

2 See B.O., iii. 1, 117-181. Of his hymns a few are still 
extant ; see Bickcll, Co7ispectics, p. 38 ; Brit. Mus. Add. 
7156 (Rosen, Catal, p. 14, v, x, y, z), Add. 14675 (Wright, 
Catal, p. 131, col. 1), 17219 {ibid., p. 136, col. 1); Paris, 
Suppl. 56 (Zotenberg, Catal, p. 9, col. 1, t) ; Munich, Cod. 
Syr. 4 (Orient. 147). 

3 B.O., ii. 430 ; Baethgen, Fragmente, pp. 49, 125. 

^ Cited by Elias bar Shinaya ; see Bar-IIebrajus, Chron. 
Eccles., ii. 65, note 1. 



186 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

name and his teaching shall be famous throughout 
the whole East^" This was Abraham bar Dash- 
andadh " the Lame," whose works are enumerated 
by 'Abhd-isho' as follows- — a book of exhortation, 
discourses on repentance ^ letters, the book of the 
king's way, a disputation with the Jews, and a 
commentary on the discourses of Mark the monk^ 
He was teacher at the school of Bashush in 
Saphsapha, where the future catholicus Timothy I. 
received his early education, as well as his succes- 
sor Isho' bar Non and Abu Nuh al-AnbarP. 

Mar-abha, the son of Berikh-sebhyaneh, was a 
native of Kashkar^, and became bishop of that 
town. From this see he was promoted in 741 to 
the dignity of catholicus''. At first he had some 
difficulties with the emir Yusuf ibn 'Omar ath- 
Thakafi, but these were settled by a visit to 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 179. 

2 Ibid., iii. 1, 194. 

^ According to another reading on desire or cupidity. 

4 See Brit. Mus. Add. 17270 (Wright, Catal, ^. 482). 

^ Assemani {B.O., iii. 1, 196, note 4) says that Timothy 
I. was a pupil of Abraham bar Liphah, but Isho' bar Non 
and Abu Nuh are expressly stated to have been pupils of 
Abraham "the Lame," ibid., p. 165, note 4, and p. 212, 
note 2 ; see also p. 486, col. 1. 

^ Others say of Daukarah, in the neighbourhood of 
Kashkar, B.O., ii. 431. 

'^ Baethgen, Fragmente, pp. 50, 125; Bar-Hebraeus, 
Chron. Ecdes., ii. 153 ; B.O., ii. 431, iii. 1, 157. 



MAR-ABHA II, 187 

al-Kufah, which gave him an opportunity of going 
also to al-Hirah, where he was received Avith great 
honour by the aged bishop John Azrak. He 
shortened his name to Abha, the better to 
distinguish himself from his predecessor Mar-abha 
I. (see above, p. 116 sq.). In the sixth year of 
his patriarchate he got into a dispute with his 
clergy about the management of the school at 
Seleucia, and withdrew to Kashkar, but returned 
to Seleucia before his death, which took place in 
751, at the age, it is said, of 110 years. According 
to Bar-Hebrseus, " he was learned in ecclesiastical 
works and in dialectics, and composed a commen- 
tary on Theologus (i.e., Gregory Nazianzen)\ and 
all his time he was occupied in reading books." 
'Abhd-isho' mentions him in two places, as Abha 
of Kashkar^ in B.O., iii. 1, 154, and as Abha bar 
Berikh-sebhyaneh at p. 157. In the former place 
he ascribes to him expositions, letters, and a 
commentary on the whole Dialectics of Aristotle^, 
and in the latter. The Book of the Generals, or 
Military Governors'^, and other works. 



1 See B.O., iii. 1, 15Y, col. 2. 

2 Whom Assemani takes for Abraham of Kashkar (see 
above, }). 118) ; for what reason we cannot see. 

3 See B.O., iii. 1, 157, col. 2. 

4 Perhaps a chronicle of the Muhannuadan governors 
of al-'Irak. 



188 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Simeon bar Tabbakhe (the Butcher) of Kash- 
kar held the important post of chief officer of the 
treasury under the caliph al-Mansur\ about the 
same time that his co-religionist George bar 
Bokht-isho' of Gunde-Shabhor or Beth Lapat^, in 
Khuzistan, was court physicianl The only work 
of his mentioned by 'Abhd-isho' is an ecclesiastical 
history, which from his position at Baghdadh 
doubtless contained much valuable information. 

Suren or Surin'*, bishop of Nisibis and after- 
wards of Halah or Holwan in Beth Madhaye^ 
was raised to the patriarchate in 754, by the 
orders of Aban, the Muhammadan emir of al- 
Madain (Seleucia). The bishops appealed to the 
caliph 'Abdallah as-Saffah^ and not in vain. The 
election was cancelled, and Jacob, bishop of 
Gunde-Shabhor, was chosen in his place (who sat 
till 773). Their continued squabbles, however, so 
irritated al-Mansur that he gave orders to throw 
them both into prison. Suren made his escape in 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 206, col. 1, 11. 4, 5. 

2 Noldeke, Gesch. d. Perser u. Araber, p. 41, note 2. 

3 B.O., iii. 1, 205, col. 2, note 4 ; Baethgen, Fragmented 
pp. 59, 60, 129 ; Bar-Hebrseus, Hist. Dynast, 221 ; Wiis- 
tenfeld, Gesch. d. arah. Aerzte, No. 26. 

* On the name see Noldeke, Gesch. d. Perser u. Araber, 
p. 438, note 4. 

5 See Hoffmann, Auszuge, p. 120. 
^ He died in June of this same year. 



StJEEN. — CYPRIAN OF NISIBIS. 189 

time, but Jacob was caught and spent the next 
nine years under strict ward, during which time 
" the second Judas," 'Isa ibn Shahlatha or Shah- 
lafa^ deacon and physician, trampled the rights 
of the bishops under foot. On his release, he 
sent Suren as bishop to al-Basrah, at the request 
of some of the Christian citizens, but others would 
not receive him, and their quarrels once more 
attracted the caliph's attention. Suren, warned 
by 'Isa, again made his escape, but was captured 
by the emir of al-Madain and died in prison I 
The epithet of Mephashshekdnd, given to him by 
'Abhd-isho ^ implies that he was either a com- 
mentator on Scripture or a translator of Greek 
works into Syriac. He composed a treatise 
against heretics, but the remainder of ' Abhd-isho"s 
text is not clear in Assemani's edition*. 

Cyprian, bishop of Nisibis, was appointed to 
that see in 741 ^ The great event of his life was 
the building of the first Nestorian church in the 
Jacobite city of Taghrith, just outside of the 
walls, on the banks of the Tigris. The idea 

1 See Bar-Hebraeus, Hist. Bynast.^ p. 221 ; Wlistenfeld, 
Qe&ch. d. arab. Aerzte, No. 26. 

2 B.O., ii. 431; iii. 1, 168, 205-206. 

3 Ibid., iii. 1, 168. 

4 Ibid., iii. 1, 169. 

^ Baethgen, Fragmente, pp. 50, 125 ; Bar-Hebrseus, 
Chron. Ecdes., ii. 154, note 1. 



190 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

originated with Selibha-zekha, bishop of Tirhan, 
but would never have been realized, had not 
Cyprian allowed the Jacobites to resume posses- 
sion of the church of Mar Domitius at Nisibis. 
The building of the church at Taghrith was com- 
menced in 767 \ Cyprian also erected a magni- 
ficent church at Nisibis, on which he expended 
the sum of 56,000 dinars, in 758-7591 After 
this time it so happened that the patriarchs of 
the three Christian sects, Theodoret the Malkite, 
George the Jacobite, and Jacob the Nestorian, 
were all in prison at once at Baghdadh. 'Isa the 
physician, thinking to improve the occasion to his 
own advantage, wrote to Cyprian that the caliph 
al-Mansur coveted some of the golden and silver 
vessels of the church of Nisibis, hinting at the 
same time in pretty plain language that a hand- 
some present to himself might be of some avail at 
this juncture. Cyprian had the courage to go 
straight to Baghdadh with the letter and show it 
to the caliph, who disgraced 'Isa and confiscated 
his property ^ releasing the three patriarchs at 
the same time*. Cyprian died in 767 ^ Ac- 

1 Bar-Hebreeus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 155-157. 

2 Baethgen, Fragmente, pp. 57, 128. 

3 Bar-Hebrseus, Hist. Dynast., p. 224. 

4 Bar-Hebr£eiis, Chron. Eccles., ii. 161-163; B.O., iii. 1, 
111-112. 

5 Baethgen, Fragmente, i^p. 60, 129. 



TIMOTHY I. 191 

cording to 'Abhd-isho', he wrote a commentary 
on the theological discourses of Gregory Nazianzen 
and various forms of ordination ^ 

Timothy I. was a native of Hazza in Hedhai- 
yabh, and had been a pupil of Abraham bar 
Dashandadh (see above, p. 186) at the school of 
Bashush in Saphsapha. He became bishop of 
Beth Baghesh^, and stood well with the Muham- 
madan governor of Mosul, Abii Musa ibn Mus'ab, 
and his Christian secretary Abu Nuh al-AnbarP. 
On the death of Henan-isho' II. in 779 ^ several 
persons presented themselves as candidates for the 
dignity of catholicus. Timothy got rid of Isho'- 
yabh, abbot of Beth 'Abhe, by pointing out to 
him that he was an old man, unfit to withstand 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 111-113. By the "theology" of Gregory 
Nazianzen are probably meant the discourses bearing the 
title Theologica Prima^ &c. ; see, for example, Wright, 
Catal., p. 425, Nos. 22-25. 

2 Hoffmann, Auszuge, p. 227 sq. 

3 Also a pupil of Abraham bar Dashandadh {B.O.y iii. 
1, 212, note 2, 159, col. 1). He is mentioned in com- 
mendatory terms by Timothy in his encyclical letters of 
790 and 805 (Z?.a,iii. 1, 82, col. 1, 164, col. 1 ; 'Abhd-isho', 
Collectio Canonum Synodicorum, ix. 6, in Mai, Scriptt. 
Vett. Nova Coll, x. pp. 167, col. 1, 329, col. 1). He was the 
author of a refutation of the Kor'an, a disputation against 
heretics, and other useful works {B.O., iii. 1, 212), among 
which may be mentioned a life of the missionary John of 
Dailam {B.O., iii. 1, 183, col. 2). 

^ Or, according to others, 777. 



192 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

his younger rivals, and by promising, if he himself 
were successful, to make him metropolitan of 
Hedhaiyabh, which he afterwards did. Meantime 
Thomas of Kashkar and other bishops held a 
synod at the convent of Mar Pethion in Baghdadh, 
and elected the monk George, who had the support 
of *Isa the court physician ; but this formidable 
opponent died suddenly. Having by a mean 
trick obtained the support of the archdeacon 
Beroe and the heads of the various colleges, 
Timothy managed at last to get himself appointed 
catholicus, about eight months after the death of 
his predecessor. He still, however, encountered 
strong opposition. Ephraim metropolitan of 
Gunde-Shabhor, Solomon bishop of al-Hadithah, 
Joseph metropolitan of Maru or Merv, Sergius 
bishop of Ma'allethaya, and others held a synod at 
the convent of Beth Hale, in which they made 
Rustam, bishop of Henaitha^ metropolitan of 
Hedhaiyabh in place of Isho'-yabh^, and excom- 
municated Timothy, who retorted with the same 
weapon and deposed Joseph of Merv. Joseph 
brought the matter before the caliph al-Mahdi, 
but, failing to gain any redress, in an evil hour for 
himself became a Muhammadan^ Once more 

1 Hoflfmann, Ausziige, p. 216 5^. ^ ^q^^ jij, i^ 207. 

3 We need not believe all the evil that Bar-Hebraeus 
tells us of this unhappy man, Chron. Eccles., ii. 171 sq. 



TIMOTHY I. 193 

Ephraim summoned his bishops to Baghdadh and 
excommunicated Timothy for the second time, 
with no other result than a counter-excommuni- 
cation and some disgraceful rioting, which led to 
the interference of 'Isa and the restoration of 
peaces Timothy was duly installed in May 780 ^ 
He made the bishops of Persia subject to the see 
of Seleucia, and appointed over them one Simeon 
as metropolitan with orders to enforce a stricter 
rule than heretofore I In his days Christianity 
spread among the Turks, and the khakan himself 
is said to have become a converts Timothy's 
disgraceful response to the caliph ar-Rashid in 
the matter of the divorce of Zubaidah may be 
seen in B.O., iii. 1, 161. He is said to have died 
in 204 A.H. = 819-820 A.D, or 205 = 820-821 ; but, 
if he was catholicus for forty-three years, his death 

1 See the whole miserable story told in full in B.O.^ ii. 
433, iii. 1, 158-160; Bar-Hebra3us, Chron, Eccles.^ ii. 
165-169. 

2 Baethgen, Fragmeiite, pp. 64, 131. 

3 Bar-Hebra3us, Chron. Ecdes., ii. 169; B.O., ii. 433. 

* B.O., iii. 1, 160. Compare Chwolson's interesting 
memoir "Syrische Grabinschriften aus Semirjetschie" 
(west of the Chinese province of Kuldja, more correctly 
Kulja), in M^m. de VAcad. Imp. des Sc. de St. Petersb., 7th 
ser., vol. xxxiv., No. 4. The oldest of these tombstones 
is dated A. Gr. 1169 = 858 a.d., and marked "the grave of 
Mengku-tenesh the believer" (p. 7) ; but most of them 
belong to the 13th and 14th centuries. 

S. L. 13 



194 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

cannot have taken place till 823 \ 'Abhd-isho' 
informs us that Timothy wrote synodical epistles, 
a volume on questions of ecclesiastical law, another 
on questions of various sorts, a third containing 
disputations with a heretic, viz., the Jacobite 
patriarch George, about 200 letters in two volumes, 
a disputation with the caliph al-Mahdi or his 
successor al-Hadi (on matters of religion), and an 
astronomical work on the stars ^ Bar-Hebrseus 
adds hymns for the dominical feasts of the whole 
year and a commentary on Theologus (Gregory 
Nazianzen)^ 

In this century too we may place the two 
following historical writers, whose names and 
works are unfortunately known to us only through 
the mention made of them by a later annalist. 
(1) An anonymous author, the abbot of the great 
convent (of Abraham on Mount Izla), cited by 
Elias bar Shinaya in his Chronicle under the 
years 740-741 ^ (2) An ecclesiastical historian 

1 See^.a, ii. 434; iii. 1, 160. 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 162-163. 

3 Chron. Eccles.^ ii. 179. He is probably the author of 
the hymn in Brit. Mus. Add. 7156 (Rosen, Catal.^ p. 13, 
col. 1, 1) and Paris, Suppl. 56 (Zotenberg, Catal., p. 9, 
col. 1, i). 

* See Baethgen, Fragmente, p. 2, Xo. 3; Bar-Hebrseus, 
Chron. Ecdes.^ ii. 152, note 2, 154, note 1 (Abbeloos writes 
"the abbots of the great convent"). 



PETHION. — ISHO'-DENAH, 195 

called Pethion, identified by Baethgen (Fragmente, 
p. 2, No. 6) with the catholicus of that name. 
This is, however, impossible, because the catho- 
licus died in 740, whereas the Ecclesiastical 
History of Pethion is cited by Elias bar Shinaya 
under the years 765 and 768. 

We conclude our enumeration of the Nestorian 
writers of this century with the name of another 
historian. In the Bibl. Orient, iii. 1, 195, the 
text of 'Abhd-isho', as edited by Assemani, speaks 
of a writer named Isho'-denah, bishop of Kasra. 
Other MSS., however, read Basra (al-Basrah), 
which is confirmed by Elias bar Shinaya in 
Baethgen's Fragmente, p. 2. The variation Denah- 
isho' in Bar-Hebrseus {Chron. Eccles., i. 334) is 
of no consequence, and even there the MSS. 
differ. Besides the usual homilies and some 
metrical discourses, he wrote an introduction to 
logic, a work entitled The Book of Chastity, in 
which he collected lives and anecdotes of holy 
men and founders of monasteries, and an eccle- 
siastical history in three volumes \ This valuable 
work is known to us only by a few citations in 
Bar-Hebrseus and Elias bar Shinaya. Those in 
Bar Shinaya^ range from 624 to 714, but the 
extract in Bar-Hebraeus^ brings us down to 793. 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 195. 2 Baethgen, Fragmente, p. 2. 

3 Chron. Eccles., i. 333; B.O., iii. 1, 195, note 4 (where 

13—2 



196 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Reverting now to the Jacobite Church, we 
shall find that the number of its literary men in 
the 9th century is not large, though some of them 
are of real importance as theologians and his- 
torians. 

Dionysius Tell-Mahraya was, as his surname 
implies, a native of Tell-Mahre, a village situated 
between ar-Rakkah and Hisn Maslamah, near the 
river Balikh\ He was a student in the convent 
of Ken-neshre^ and on its destruction by fire^ and 
the consequent dispersion of the monks, he went 
to the convent of Mar Jacob at Kaisum, in the 
district of Samosata^ He devoted himself entirely 
to historical studies ^ which he seems to have 
carried on in peace and quiet till 818. The 
patriarch Cyriacus (see above, p. 165) had got 

695 is a mistake for 793). See also Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. 
Ecdes.^ ii. 42, note 2, 114, note 1, 122, note 1, 127, note 3, 
138, notes 1, 2, 140, note 1. 

1 See Hoflfmann in Z.D.M.O., xxxii. (1878), p. 742, 
note 2. 

2 Bar-Hebreeus, Chron. Eccles., i. 347-349. 

3 B.O., ii. 345, col. 1, where the rebuilding of it by 
Dionysius is mentioned; Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., i. 
355, at the top. 

* Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Ecdes., i. 347-349. A previous 
residence at the convent of Zuknin near Amid {B.O., ii. 
98, col. 2) is uncertain, as the words daira dhllan probably 
mean no more than "the convent of us Jacobites." 

5 Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., i. 347, last line. 



DIONYSIUS OF TELL-MAHRE. 197 

entangled in a controversy with the monks of 
Cyrrhus and Gubba Barraya about the words 
lahmd shemaiyana ("the heavenly bread"), &c., 
in the Eucharistic service, which ended in the 
malcontents setting up as an ti -patriarch Abraham, 
a monk of the convent of Kartamin. After the 
death of Cyriacus in 817, a synod was held in 
June 818 at Callinicus (ar-Kakkah), in which, 
after considerable discussion, Theodore, bishop of 
Kaisum, proposed the election of Dionysius, which 
was approved by most of those present, including 
Basil L, maphrian of Taghrith^ The poor monk 
was accordingly fetched to Callinicus, received 
deacon's orders on Friday in the convent of Estuna 
or the Pillar, priest's orders on Saturday in the 
convent of Mar Zakkai or Zacchseus, and was 
raised to the patriarchate in the cathedral on 
Sunday the first of Abh, 818, the officiating bishop 
being Theodosius of Callinicus. Abraham and his 
partisans, seeing their hopes disappointed, main- 
tained their hostile attitude, which led afterwards 
to the usual scandalous scenes before the Muslim 
authorities^ Immediately after his installation, 
Dionysius commenced a visitation of his vast 

1 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 347. 

2 Ibid., i. 355-357; B.O., ii. 345. Abraham died in 
837, and was succeeded by his brother Simeon as anti- 
patriarch. 



198 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

diocese, going first northwards to Cyrrhus, thence 
to Antioch, Kirkesion (Kirkisiya), the district of 
the Khabhiir, Nisibis, Dara and Kephar-tutha, 
and so back to Callinicus, where he enjoyed the 
protection of ' Abdallah ibn Tahir against his rival 
Abraham. He did not on this occasion visit Mosul 
and Taghrith, because the maphrian Basil thought 
the times unfavourable ^ In 825 'Abdallah ibn 
Tahii' was sent to Egypt to put down the rebellion 
of 'Obaidallah ibn as-Sari, where he remained as 
governor till 827-. His brother Muhammad ibn 
Tahir was by no means so well disposed towards 
the Christians, and destroyed all that they had 
been allowed to build in Edessa^. Wherefore the 
patriarch went down into Eg}^t to beg the emir 
'Abdallah to write to his brother and bid him 
moderate his zeal against the Church, which he 
accordingly did^ On his return from Egypt the 
patriarch had troubles with Philoxenus, bishop of 
Nisibis, who espoused the cause of the anti- 
patriarch Abraham ^ ; and he then went to Bagh- 
dadh in 829 to confer with the caliph al-Ma*mim 
as to an edict that he had issued on the occasion 

1 Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles.^ i. 353. 

2 Wiistenfeld, Die Statthalter von Aegypien, Ite Abth.,. 
p. 32 s^.; De Sacy, Relation de VEgypte pcir Ahd-allatify 
pp. 501-508 and 552-557. 

3 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 359. 

4 Ihid., i. 369. 5 Ibid., i. 363. 



DIONYSIUS OF TELL-MAHRE. 199 

of dissensions between the Palestinian and Baby- 
lonian Jews regarding the appointment of an 
exiliarch\ During his stay in the capital disputes 
took place among the Christians, which ended in 
a reference to the caliph and in the deposition 
of the bishop Lazarus bar Sabhethal From 
Baghdadh Dionysius proceeded to Taghrith and 
Mosul, and nominated Daniel as maphrian in place 
of the deceased Basil. In 830 al-Ma'mun made 
an attack on the Greek territory, and the patriarch 
tried to see him on his return at Kaisum, but the 
caliph had hurried on to Damascus, whither 
Dionysius followed him and accompanied him to 
Egypt on a mission to the Bashmuric Copts, who 
were then in rebellion. Any efforts of his and of 
the Egyptian patriarch were, however, of no avail, 
and the unfortunate rebels suffered the last horrors 
of war at the hands of al-Ma'mun and his general 
Afshin^ On this journey Dionysius saw and 
examined the obelisks of Heliopolis, the pyramids, 
and the Nilometer^ In 835 he revisited Taghrith 
to settle some disputes between the Taghritans 
and the monks of Mar Matthew at Mosul, and to 

1 Bar-Hebroeus, Chron. Eccles., i. 365. 

2 Ibid., i. 365-371. 

3 Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., i. 373 ; Weil, Gesch. d. 
Khalifen, ii. 246 ; Wiisteiifeld, Die Statthalter von Aegypten, 
Ite Abth., pp. 40-43. 

^ Bar-Hebraeu8, Chron. Eccles., i. 377-381. 



200 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

ordain Thomas as maphrian in place of the de- 
ceased Daniels In the same year he went once 
more to Baghdadh to salute al-Ma'mun's successor 
al-Mu'tasim, and met there the son of the king 
of Nubia, who had come on the same errands 
The latter years of Dionysius were embittered by 
the oppressions and afflictions which the Chris- 
tians had to endure at the hands of the Muham- 
madans. He died on 22d August 845, and was 
buried in the convent of Ken-neshre^. He left 
behind him one great work, his Annals, covering 
the whole period of the world's history from the 
creation down to his own time. Of this there 
were two recensions, a longer and a shorter. The 
longer redaction was dedicated to John, bishop 
of Dara, and came down at all events to the 
year 837, or perhaps a little latere Assemani 
has published an extract from it, which he was 
fortunate enough to find in Cod. Vat. cxliv., f. 89, 
in the B.O., ii. 72-77 ^ It would seem to have 
been written, after the manner of John of Asia, 
in a series of chapters dealing with particular 
topics. The shorter redaction is extant in a single 
imperfect MS., Cod. Vat. clxii.^ and is dedicated 

1 Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., i. 381. 

2 Ibid., 385. 3 jiici^^ 383-385. 
4 See Catal Vat, iii. 253. 

^ See Catal. Vat., iii. 328. Assemani's account of this 
MS. is not so clear as could have been wished. In the 



DIONYSIUS OF TELL-MAHRE. 201 

to George, chorepiscopus of Amid, Euthalius the 
abbot (of Zuknin ?), Lazarus the periodeutes, the 
monk Anastasius, and the rest of the brotherhood. 
It is arranged by successive years, and ended with 
the year of the Greeks 1087 = 776 A.D.' The 
author has adopted a division into four parts. 
Part first extends from the creation to the reign 
of Constantino. Here the chief authority is the 
Chronicorum Canonum Liber of Eusebius, supple- 
mented by some extracts from other Greek sources, 
such as Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History and the 
Chronographia of Julius Africanus. With these 
Dionysius has incorporated matter derived from 
sundry other works, e.g., the Chronicle of Edessa 
(see above, p. 101), the Mearrath Gazze or " Cave 
of Treasures^" Pseudo-Callisthenes's Life of Alex- 
ander the Great, the story of the seven sleepers^, 

Catal. Vat, iii. 329, he says that it is " unus ex iis codici- 
bus, quos Moses Nisibenus coenobiarcha e Mesopotamia in 
Scetense S. Marige Syrorum monasterium intulit" (viz., in 
932) ; but there is now no note whatever in the MS. to 
show that this was the case. 

1 B.O., ii. 99. At present the MS. ends in the year 775, 
a few leaves being wanting at the end. 

2 Translated into German by Bezold, Die Schatzhohle 
(1883). [The Syriac text appeared in 1888 ; see above, 
p. 98 sq.] 

3 Giiidi, Testi Orientali inediti sopra i Sette Dormienti 
di Efeso (Reale Accad. dei Lincei), 1885 ; see in particular 
p. 34, note 3. 



202 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

and Josephus's Jewish ^¥ar'^. The second part of 
Dionysius's Chronicle reaches from Constantine to 
Theodosius II., and here he principally followed 
the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates (compare 
Cod. Vat. cxlv.). The third part extends from 
Theodosius II. to Justin II. Here Dionysius 
acknowledges himself chiefly indebted to his 
countryman John of Asia (see above, p. 105 sq.), 
but has also incorporated the short Chronicle of 
Joshua the Stylite (see above, p. 77 sq.) and the 
epistle of Simeon of Beth Arsham on the Him- 
yarite Christians (see above, p. 81). The fourth 
part, coming down to 158 A.H. = 774-775 A.D., is 
his own compilation, partly from such written 
documents as he could find, partly from the oral 
statements of aged men, and partly from his own 
observation. Assemani has given an account of 
the whole work, with an abridgement or excerpt 

1 The Syriac text of this first part was edited by TuU- 
berg, Dionysii Telmaharensis Chronici liber primus, 1850 
(compare Land, Joannes Bischof von Ephesos, pp. 39-41). 
The Eusebian extracts have been translated and compared 
with the Greek original (so far as possible), the Latin 
version of Jerome, and the Armenian version, by Siegfried 
and Gelzer, Eusehii Canonum Epitome ex Dionysii Telma- 
harensis Chronico petita (1884). On this work see Gut- 
schmid, Untersuchungen iiher d. syrische Epitome der Euse- 
hischen Canones (1886). The editors have not always 
correctly rendered the text of their " blatero Syrius " ; see 
a flagrant example on p. 79, last paragraph. 



THEODOSIUS OF EDESSA. — ANTONIUS. 203 

of the fourth part, in the Bihl. Orient., ii. 98-116 ; 
but the labours of Dionysius of Tell-Mahre will 
never be appreciated as they deserve till the 
appearance of the edition which is now being 
prepared by Guidi. 

Under Dionysius flourished his brother Theo- 
dosius, bishop of Edessa, also a student of Greek 
at Ken-neshre. Bar-Hebrseus makes mention of 
him as accompanying Dionysius to Egypt in 825- 
826 to complain to 'Abdallah ibn Tahir of the 
wrongs of the Christians \ At an earlier period 
(802-803), when only a priest, he translated the 
homily of Gregory Nazianzen on the miracles of 
the prophet Elijah^ and Bar-Hebrseus says that 
he also rendered into Syriac the poems of the 
same author^ 

A friend of his was Antonius, a monk of 
Taghrith, surnamed " the Rhetorician^" He was 
the author of a treatise on rhetoric in seven 
chapters ^ of a work on the good providence of 

1 Bar-Hebrceus, Chron. Eccles., i. 361 ; B.O.^ ii. 345. 

2 Cod. Vat. xcvi., Catal. Vat., ii. 521 ; B.O., ii. p. cxlix, 
No. 17. 

3 Bar-Hebroeus, Chron. Eccles., i. 363 ; D.O., ii. 345. To 
this version perhaps belong the poems contained in Brit. 
Mus. Add. 14547 (Wright, Catal, p. 433) iind 18821 {ibid., 
p. 775). 

4 Bar-Hebrscus, Chron. Eccles., i. 363 ; B.O., ii. el and 
345. 

5 Brit. Mus. Add. 17208 (Wright, Catal, p. 614). 



204 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

God in four discourses ^ and of various encomia, 
thanksgivings, consolatory epistles '^ and prayers^ 
in many of which he makes use not merely of 
metre but also of rime*. 

Lazarus bar Sabhetha, called as bishop Philo- 
xenus and Easily ruled the see of Baghdadh in the 
earlier part of the 9th century. As mentioned 
above, he was deposed by Dionysius in 829. He 
compiled an anaphora or liturgy^, and wrote an 
exposition of the office of baptism''. The latter 
may be only part of a larger work on the offices 
of the church, from which Bar-Hebrseus may have 
derived the information regarding the musical 
services quoted by Assemani, B.O., i. 166. 

Contemporary with these was John, bishop of 
Dara, to whom Dionysius dedicated the larger 
recension of his history (see above). He com- 
piled a liturgy ^ and was the author of the 
following works — a commentary on the two books 
of Pseudo-Dionysias Areopagita De Hierarchia 

1 Brit. Mus. Add. 14726 (Wright, Catal., p. 617). 

2 Brit. Mus. Add. 17208. 

3 Brit. Mus. Add. 14726. 

^ See a specimen in Rodiger's Chrestom. Syr.^ 2d ed., 
pp. 110-111. 

5 See Wright., Catal, p. 496, col. 2. 

6 See Renaudot, ii. 399. 

7 Cod. Vat. cxlvii., Catal, iii. 276. 

8 B.O., ii. 123. 



JOHN OF DARA. — NONNUS OF NISIBIS. 205 

Ccelesti et Ecclesiastical, four books on the priest- 
hood^, four books on the resurrection of the dead^, 
and a treatise on the soul^ 

Nonnus was an archdeacon of the Jacobite 
Church at Nisibis during the first half of this 
century, the Nestorian bishop Cyprian having 
allowed the Monophysites to resume possession of 
the church of St Domitius in 767 (see above, 
p. 190). He is mentioned by Bar-Hebraeus as 
bringing charges against the bishop Philoxenus, 
who had sided with the anti-patriarch Abraham, 
and was therefore deposed by a synod held at 
Ras'ain in 827 or 828 ^ We know also that he 
was in prison at Nisibis when he wrote his work 
against Thomas bishop of Marga and metropolitan 

1 B.O., ii. 120-121 ; Cod. Vat. c. {Catal, ii. 539), ccclxiii. 
(Mai, Scriptt. Vett. Nova Coll., v.) ; Bodl. Or. 264 (Payne 
Smith, Catal.y pp. 487-492). There is an extract in Cod. 
Vat. ccccxi. p. 1 (Mai, op. cit.). 

2 B.O., ii. 121 ; Cod. Vat. c. {Catal, ii. 542), ccclxiii. 
(Mai, op. cit.); Bodl. Or. 264 (P. Smith, pp. 492-496). 
Extracts from bks. ii. and iv. in Zingerle, Monum. Syr., i. 
105-110 ; from bk. iv. in Overbeck, S. Ephraemi, &c., 0pp. 
Sel., pp. 409-413 ; see Bar-Hebracus, Chro7i. Fccles., ii. 394, 
note 1, No. 13. 

3 B.O., ii. 119; Cod. Vat. c. (Catal, ii. 531), ccclxii. 
(Mai, op. cit.). 

* B.O., ii. 219, note 1. From it there are extracts in 
Cod. Vat. cxlvii. {Catal., iii. 276). 

5 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 363; B.O., ii. 346, 
col. 1. 



206 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

of Beth Garmai, who flourished under the Nes- 
torian catholici Abraham (837-850) and Theodo- 
sius (852-858). Besides this controversial treatise 
in four discourses, Nonnus was the writer of 
sundry letters of a similar character \ 

Bomanus the physician, a monk of the con- 
vent of Kartamin, was elected patriarch at Amid 
in 887, and took the name of Theodosius^. He 
died in 896. He was the author of a medical 
syntagma (kumidsha) of some repute =^. He wrote 
a commentary on Pseudo-Hierotheus, On the 
Hidden Mysteries of the House of God'^, and 
dedicated it to Lazarus, bishop of Cyrrhus^ The 
work is divided into five books, the first and 
second of which he finished at Amid, before going 
down to the East, and the third at Samosata. 
He also compiled a collection of 112 Pythagorean 
maxims and proverbs, with brief explanations in 

1 These writings are all contained in Brit. Mus. Add. 
14594 (Wright, CataL, pp. 618-620). 

2 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Uccles., i. 391 ; ii. 213. 

2 Ibid., i. 391. Assemani suggests that it may be the 
work contained in Cod. Vat. cxcii. {CataL, iii. 409). Com- 
pare Frothingham, Stephen bar Sudaili the Syrian Mystic 
and the Book of Hierotheos, 1886, p. 84 sq. 

* A forgery of Stephen bar Sudh-aile ; see above, p. 76. 

5 Brit. Mus. Add. 7189 (Rosen, Catal, p. 74). This is 
the very copy which was procured with some difficulty 
for the use of Gregory Bar-Hebrseus (Wright, Catal., p. 
1205). 



ROMANUS. — MOSES BAR KEPHA. 207 

Syriac and Arabic, addressed to one George \ A 
synodical epistle of his is extant in Arabic, written 
to the Egyptian patriarch Michael III.^ and a 
Lenten homily in Arabic ^ 

Moses bar Kepha was the son of Simeon 
Kepha (or Peter) and his wife Maryam. The 
father was from the village of Mashhad al-Kohail, 
on the Tigris opposite al-Hadithah^ the mother a 
native of Balad, in which town their son was born 
somewhere about 813. He was taught from his 
early youth by Rabban Cyriacus, abbot of the 
convent of Mar Sergius on the Tura Sahya, or 
Dry Mountain, near Balad, and there assumed the 
monastic garb. He was elected bishop of Beth 
Remman (Barimma)^ Beth Kiyonaya^ and MosuP, 
about 863, and took the name of Severus. He 
was also for ten years periodeutes or visitor of the 

1 Pcaris, Ancien fonds 118, 157 (Zotenberg, CataL, p. 147, 
col. 1, 166, col. 1) ; Bodl. Marsh. 201, f. 58 (Payne Smith, 
Catal, p. 507) ; B.O.^ ii. 125. It is admirably edited by 
Zotenberg in the Journ. Asiat., 1876, pp. 426-476. 

2 B.O., ii. 124. 

3 Brit. Mus. Add. 7206, f. 73 (Rosen, Catal, p. 103). 
^ See Hoffmann, Aiisziige, p. 190. 

5 Ibid., p. 190. 

6 B.O., ii. 218, note 1, col. 2 ; Hoffmann, AuszUge, \\ 30, 
note 243. In Wright's Catal, p. 620, col. 2, the name is 
written Beth KiyOnfi ; in B.O., ii. 127, Beth Kena. 

7 In Wright's Catal, p. 621, col. 1, he is called bishop 
of Beth Remman and Beth 'Arbaye (Ba-'arbaya). 



208 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

diocese of Taghrith. He died A. Gr. 1214 = 903 
A.D.\ "aged about ninety years, of which he had 
been bishop for forty/' and was buried in the 
convent of Mar Sergius. His works are numerous. 
He wrote commentaries on the whole Old and 
New Testaments^, which are often cited by Bar- 
Hebrseus in the Ausa7^ Raze. Of these that on 
the book of Genesis survives, though imperfect, 
in Brit. Mus. 17274^, and there are extracts from 
them in Paris, Ancien fonds 35 (Zotenberg, Catal., 
p. 156), and Bodl. Marsh. 101 (P. Smith, CataL, 
p. 462). The Gospels and Pauline epistles (im- 
perfect) are contained in Brit. Mus. Add. 17274 
(Wright, Catal., p. 620), the latter only in Bodl. 
Or. 703 (P. Smith, Catal, p. 410) and Bodl. Marsh. 
86 (ibid., p. 418). His treatise on the Hexaemeron 
in five books ^ is preserved to us in the Paris MS. 
Anc. fonds 120 (Zotenberg, Catal., p. 197), and 
there are extracts from it in two other MSS. 
{ibid., pp. 157, 159). The work De Paradiso, in 
three parts, dedicated to his friend Ignatius of 
IAjo^jO (?)^ is known to us only through the 
Latin translation of Andreas Masius, 1569^. The 

1 As correctly given in B.O., ii. 218; Bar-Hebrseus, 
Chron. Eccles., ii. 217 (and by MS. C. also in i. 395). 

2 B.O., ii. 130, note 3 ; 218, col. 2. 

3 Wright, Catal, p. 620. * B.O., ii. 128, No. 1. 
5 Ihid., ii. 218, col. 2. 6 m^i^^ ^ 128, No. 2. 



MOSES BAR KEPHA. 209 

treatise on the soul^ survives in Cod. Vat. cxlvii. 
(Catal, iii. 273-274); it consists of 40 chapters, 
with a supplementary chapter to show that the 
dead are profited by offerings made on their 
behalf 2. That on predestination and freewill, in 
four discourses, is extant in Brit. Mus. Add. 14731 
(Wright, Catal., p. 853). The Disputations against 
Heresies, spoken of by Moses's biographer in B.O., 
ii. 218, col. 2, is probably identical with the w^ork 
On Sects mentioned by Assemani at p. 131, No. 7. 
The Festal Homilies for the whole year=* is extant 
in several MSS., e.g., Brit. Mus. Add. 21210 
(Wright, Catal., p. 877) and 17188 (ibid., p. 621), 
Paris, Anc. fonds 35 and 123 (Zotenberg, Catal., 
pp. 156, 159)1 Besides these we have four 
funeral sermons ^ an admonitory discourse to the 
children of the holy orthodox church^, and a 
discourse showing why the Messiah is called by 
various epithets and names''. Moses also w^rote 
expositions of the sacraments of the church, such 

1 B.O., ii. 131, No. 6. " 

2 [It has been translated into German by 0. Braun, 
Moses bar Kepha und sein Buck von der Seele, Freiburg 
i. B., 1891.] 3 ^,0., ii. 131, No. 9. 

* See also Cod. Vat. clix. {Catal, iii. 316-317) ; on the 
Ascension, Cod. Vat. cxlvii. {Catal., iii. 276). 

6 Brit. Mus. Add. 17188 (Wright, Catal, p. 622). 

6 Brit. Mus. Add. 21210 (Wright, Catal, p. 879). 

7 Brit. Mus. Add. 17188 (Wright, Catal, p. 622). 

S. L. 14 



210 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

as on the holy chrism, in 50 chapters, Cod. Vat. 
cxlvii. (Catal., iii. 274) and Paris, Anc. fonds 123 
(Zotenberg, Catal., p. 159)S with which is con- 
nected the discourse on the consecration of the 
chrism in Brit. Mus. Add. 21210 (Wright, Catal, 
p. 879); on baptism, addressed to his friend 
Ignatius, in 24 chapters, Cod. Vat. cxlvii. (Catal., 
iii. 276), in connexion with which we may take 
the discourse on the mysteries of baptism in Brit. 
Mus. Add. 21210 (Wright, loc. cit) and on baptism 
in Cod. Vat. xcvi. {Catal., ii. 522)^; exposition of 
the liturgy, Brit. Mus. Add. 21210 (Wright, Catal, 
p. 879) and Berlin, Sachau 62 (?); further, expo- 
sitions of the mysteries in the various ordinations. 
Cod. Vat. li. {Catal, ii. 820)^ ; on the ordination 
of bishops, priests, and deacons, Brit. Mus. Add. 
21210 (Wright, Catal, p. 879); on the tonsure of 
monksS Cod. Vat. li. {Catal, ii. 322)^ He also 
compiled two anaphorse^, one of which has been 
translated by Renaudot, ii. 391. Lastly, Moses 
bar Kepha, was the author of a commentary on 

1 The Paris MS. Ancien fonds 35 contains another 
redaction in 36 chapters (Zotenberg, Catal.^ p. 157). 

2 See also Cod. Vat. ccccxi., in Mai, Scriptt. Vett. Nova 
Coll., V. 

3 See also Cod. Vat. ccciv., in Mai, op. cit. 

4 B.O., ii. 131, No. 8. 

^ Compare Cod. Vat. cccv., in Mai, op. cit. 
6 B.O., ii. 130, No. 4. 



HONAIN IBN ISHAK. 211 

the dialectics of Aristotle, mentioned by Bar- 
Hebrseus in Chron. Ecdes., ii. 215, and of a 
commentary on the works of Gregory Nazianzen, 
and an ecclesiastical history, mentioned by his 
biographer in B.O., ii. 218, col. 2. The loss of 
this last book is to be regretted. 

The contemporary Nestorian writers of mark 
are hardly more numerous. 

In this century the foundations of Syriac 
lexicography were laid by the famous physician 
Abii Zaid Honain ibn Ishak al-'lbadi of Herta 
(al-Hirah)\ He applied himself to medicine at 
Baghdad h, under Yahya, or Yuhanna, ibn Masa- 
waihi (Masuyah or Mesne); but an ill-feeling 
soon sprang up between teacher and pupil, and 
Honain took his departure for the Grecian 
territory, where he spent a couple of years in 
acquainting himself with the Greek language and 
its scientific literature. He afterwards became 
physician to the caliph al-Mutawakkil. His down- 
fall and excommunication were meanly brought 
about by a fellow-Christian of the same profession, 
Isra il ibn at-Taifuri, and Honain died soon after, 
260 A.H. = 873 A.D.2 Honain composed most of 

1 Al-'Ibadi was the nishah of an Arab Christian of 
al-Hlrah. See Ibn Khallikan, ed. "Wiistenfeld, No. 87. 
Latin writers generally call him Joannitius. 

2 See the Fihrist, pp. km and 140 ; Ibn Abl Usaibi'ah, 

14—2 



212 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

his original works in Arabic, and likewise many 
of his translations from the Greek. 'Abhd-isho' 
mentions but three books of his\ viz., a book on 
the fear of God (which he wrote as a deacon of 
the church), a S3Tiac grammar, and a compendious 
Syriac lexicon. The lexicon has no doubt been in 
great part absorbed into the later works of Bar 
'All and Bar BahluP. The grammar seems to 
have been entitled Kethdhhd dhe-Nukze, or the 
"Book of (Diacritical) Points." It is cited by 
Bar-Hebrseus in the Aiisar Raze^ and by Elias of 
Tirhan in his grammar^. Honain also wrote a 
treatise On Synonyms, whether they be "voces 
sequilitterse " (as regJnz and raggiz) or not (as 
'akethd and karyutha). Extracts from this work 
have been preserved to us by a later compiler, 
who made use also of the canons of 'Anan-isho' 

ed. Miiller, i. 184; Ibn Khallikan, ed. Wustenfeld, No. 208; 
al-Mas'udi, Muruj adh-Dhahahj ix. 173 sq. ; Bar-Hebrseus, 
Chron. Syr., p. 170 (transl, p. 173; B.O., ii. 270, note 3) 
[ed. Bedjan, p. 162]; Chron. Eccles., ii. 197-199 {B.O., ii. 
438) ; Rist. Dynast, p. 263 sq. (transl., p. 171 sq.) ; Wenrich, 
De Auctt. Gr. Yersionihus, Index, p. xxxi ; Wustenfeld, 
Gesch. d. arah. Aerzte, No. 69. 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 165. 

2 See Gesenius, Be Bar Alio et Bar Bahlulo Commen- 
tatio, 1834, p. 7. 

3 See Hoflfmann, Z.D.M.G., xxxii., 1878, p. 741. 

^ Edit. Baethgen, p. 32 ; see Hoffmann, Opusc. Nestor., 
p. xvii. 



HONAIN IBN ISHAK. 213 

of Hedhaiyabh^ (see above, p. 175). In Cod. Vat. 
ccxvii. (CataL, iii. 504) there are excerpts from a 
medical treatise of Honain, but no title is given ^ 
Honain, his son Ishak, and his nephew Hobaish 
ibn al-Hasan al-A'sam ("Stiff- wrist") were among 
the earliest and ablest of those Christians, chiefly 
Nestorians, who, during the 9th and 10th centuries, 
making Baghdadh their headquarters, supplied 
Muhammadan scholars with nearly everything 
that they knew of Greek science, whether medi- 
cine, mathematics, or philosophy. As a rule, they 
translated the Greek first into Syriac and after- 
wards into Arabic ; but their Syriac versions have 
unfortunately, as it would appear, perished, with- 
out exception^. 

1 Hoffmann, Opicsc. Nest., pp. 2-49 ; see B.O., ii. 308, 
col. 2, and Cod. Berlin, Sachau 72, No. 14. There is also 
a MS. in the collection of the S.P.C.K. 

2 Cod. Vat. cxcii. (Catal., iii. 409), Sijntagma Medicum 
Si/r. et Arab., is not likely to be his, but requires closer 
examination. 

3 This is a large subject, into which we cannot hei'e 
enter, the more so as it pertains rather to a history of 
Arabic than of Syriac literature. We would refer the 
reader to Wlistenfeld, Geschichte d. arah. Aerzte u. Natur- 
forscher, 1840; Fliigel, Dissert, de Arahicis Scriptorum 

Grcecorum Interpretihiis, 1841 ; Wenrich, De Auctorum 
Grcecorum Versionihus et Commentariis, 1 842 ; Renan, De 
Philosophia Peripatetica apud S^ros, 1852, sect. viii. p. 51 ; 
Al-Farahi {Alpharabhis) des Arab. Philosophen Lehen u. 
Schriften, by M. Steinschneider, 1869 ; A. Mliller, Die 



214 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

An elder contemporary of Honain was Gabriel 
bar Bokht-isho', in Arabic Jabra'il ibn Bakhtishu 
(or rather Bokhtishu ), a member of a family of 
renowned physicians, beginning with George bar 
Bokht-isho' of Gunde-Shabhor, whom we have 
mentioned above (p. 188). He was in practice at 
Baghdadh in 791, and attended on Ja'far ibn 
Yahya al-Barmaki, became court physician to 
ar-Eashid, and maintained this position, with 
various vicissitudes, till his death in 828 ^ 'Abhd- 
isho' says that he was the author of a Syriac 
lexicon 2, which is our reason for giving him a 

Griechischen Philosopheii in der arahischen Ueherlieferung, 
1873. Of Muhammadan authorities two of the most im- 
portant are the Fihrist of Abu l-Faraj Muhammad ibn 
Ishak al-Warrak al-Baghdadhi, commonly called Ibn Abi 
Ya'kub an-Nadim (died early in the 11th century), and the 
' Uyun al-Anhd fl Tahakdt al-Atihhd of MuwafFak ad-Din 
Aba '1- Abbas Ahmad ibn al-Kasim as-Sa'di al-Khazraji, 
generally known by the name of Ibn Abl Usaibi'ah (died 
in 1269). The former work has been edited by Fliigel, 
J. Kodiger, and A. Miiller, 1871-72, the latter by A. Muller, 
1884. [The second volume of Berthelot's La Chimie cm 
Moyen Age is devoted to L^Alchimie Syriaque, and contains 
some interesting Syriac texts, which have been edited with 
the collaboration of M. Eubens Duval (Paris, 1893).] 

1 See Ibn Abi Usaibi'ah, ed. Miiller, i. 127 ; Wiisten- 
feld, Gesch. d. arah. Aerzte, No. 28 ; Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. 
Syr., pp. 139-140, 170 (5.O., ii. 271, note, col. 1) [ed. Bedjan, 
pp. 134, 162], and Rist. Dynast., 235^264. 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 258. [But Abhd-Isho"s words perhaps 
admit of a dififerent interpretation.] 



ISHO' MARUZAYA. — BAR 'aLI. 215 

place here, but no such work is mentioned by the 
other authorities to whom we have referred \ 

Of Isho' Maruzaya, in Arabic 'Isa al-Marwazi, 
from the city of Maru or Merv, little is known to 
us beyond the fact that he compiled a Syriac 
lexicon, which was one of the two principal 
authorities made use of by Bar 'AlP. That he 
should be identical with the physician al-Marwazi, 
who lived about 567 ^ seems wholly unlikely. We 
might rather venture to identify him with Abu 
Yahya al-Marwazi, who was an eminent Syrian 
physician at Baghdadh, wrote in Syriac upon 
logic and other subjects, and was one of the 
teachers of Matta ibn Yaunan or Yunus (who 
died in 940)"*. In any case, 'Isa al-Marwazi seems 
to have flourished during the latter part of the 
9th century, and therefore to have been a con- 
temporary of Bar 'Ali^ 

Ish5', or 'Isa, bar 'Ali is stated in Cod. Vat. 
ccxvii. (Gatal, iii. 504, No. xv.) to have been a 
pupil of Honain. His father 'Ali and his uncle 
*Isa, the sons of Da ud or David, were appointed 

1 Compare Gesenius, De BA et BB, p. 7. 

2 See Gesenius, op. cit.^ p. 8 ; B.O.^ iii. 1, 258. 

3 B.O., iii. 1, 437, 438, note 2. 

^ See the Fihrist, p. 263 ; Ibn Abi Usaibi'ah, ed. Miiller, 
i. 234-235. 

^ [Bar Bahlul speaks, in the preface to his lexicon, of 
the lexicon of Zekharya Maruzaya (Duval's edition, col. 3).] 



216 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

by the catholicus Sabhr-isho II. (832-836) to the 
charge of the college founded by him in the 
convent of Mar Pethidn at Baghdadh^ Bar 
'All's lexicon is dedicated to a deacon named 
Abraham^, who made certain additions to it after 
the death of the author^. 

Isho' bar Non was a native of the village of 
Beth-Gabbare near Mosul. He was a pupil of 
Abraham bar Dashandadh (see above, p. 186) at 
the same time with Abu Nuh al-Anbari (see 
above, p. 191, note 3) and Timothy, his predecessor 
in the dignity of catholicus (see above, p. 191). 
He retired first to the convent of Mar Abraham 
on Mount Izla, where he devoted himself to study 
and to refuting the views and writings of his 
schoolfellow and subsequent diocesan Timothy, 
whom he spitefully called Talem-otheos (" the 
wronger of God ") instead of Timotheos. In 
consequence of a dispute with the monks he left 
Mount Izla and went for some months to Bagh- 
dadh, where he stayed at the house of George 
Masawaihi (Mastiyah or Mesne) and taught his 
son Yahya^ He then returned to Mosul, where 
he took up his residence in the convent of Mar 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 257 ; Gesenius, op. cit., cap. ii. 

2 Gesenius, op. cit., p. 14. 

2 Ibid., p. 21 ; see Hoffmann, Syrisch-arahische Glossen, 
1874, and Payne Smith, Thes. Syr., passim. 
4 See ^.0., iii. 1, 501 5^. 



iSHO' BAR NON. 217 

Elias, and lived there for thirty years, till the 
death of Timothy ^ Through the influence of 
Gabriel bar Bokht-ish5' (see above) and his 
son-in-law Michael bar Masawaihi (Masuyah or 
Mesue), the physician of the caliph al-Ma'mun, 
he was appointed catholicus A. Gr. 1135 = 823- 
824 A.D.2 He sat for only four years, and was 
buried, like his predecessor, in the convent of 
Kelil-isho' at Baghdadh. Of his ill-feeling towards 
Timothy I. we have already made mention ; how 
he kept it up after Timothy's death, and what 
troubles he got into in consequence, may be read 
in the pages of Assemani (B.O., iii. 1, 165). 
Bar-Hebrseus has preserved some account of a 
disputation between him and a Monophysite priest 
named Papa^ 'Abhd-isho' gives the following 
list of his works'' — a treatise on theology, questions 
on the whole text of Scripture, in two volumes, a 
collection of ecclesiastical canons and decisions^, 
consolatory discourses, epistles, a treatise on the 
division of the services, targdme or " interpreta- 

1 So Assemani, B.O.y ii. 435. Bar-Hebrteus {Chron. 
Eccles.^ ii. 181) says that he resided for thirty-eight years 
in the convent of Sa'ld near Mosul. 

2 Bar-Hebraeus {loc. cit.) says 205 a.h. = 820-821 a.d. ; 
see above, p. 193 sq. ^ Chron. Eccles.^ ii. 183-187. 

4 B.O., iii. 1, 165-166. 'Amr ibn Malta says that he 
wrote a commentary on Theologus, i.e., Gregory Xazianzen, 
B.O., iii. 1, 262, note 1. ^ Compare B.O., iii. 1, 279. 



218 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

tions\" and a tract on the efficacy of hymns and 
anthems. Of the questions on Scripture there is 
a copy in the collection of the S.P.C.K., and of 
the consolatory discourses a mutilated MS. in 
the British Museum, Add. 17217 (Wright, Catal, 
p. 613)^ The replies to the questions of Ma- 
carius the monk seem to belong to the treatise on 
the division of the services (purrash teshmeshdthcl), 
if one may judge by the first and only one 
quoted I 

A disciple of Isho' bar Non was Denha, or, as 
he is otherwise called in some MSS. of 'Abhd- 
isho^'s Catalogue, Ihibha (or rather Hibha, Ibas)''. 
Assemani places him under the catholicus Pethion 
(died in 740), but we prefer to follow the authority 
of John bar Zohl in his Grammar^. Denha was 
the author of sermons and tracts on points of 
ecclesiastical law, and of commentaries on the 
Psalms, on the works of Gregory Nazianzen (as 

1 See Badger, The Nestorians, ii. 19. 

2 The pious Monophysites of St Mary Deipara cut up 
this volume for binding, &c., as they did some other Nes- 
torian books of value in their library. 

3 Cod. Vat. Ixxxviii. 5 {Catal, ii. 483) ; cl. 9 {Catal, iii. 
281) ; clxxxvii. 5 {Catal, iii. 405). Assemani supposes that 
the next article in clxxxvii. does not belong to Theodore of 
Mopsuestia, but is taken from Isho' bar Non's questions on 
Scriptm*e. 

4 B.O., iii. 1, 175. 

5 Wright, Catal, p. 1176, col. 1. 



THOMAS OF MARGA. 219 

contained in two vols, in the translation of the 
abbot Paul), and on the dialectics of Aristotle. 

In 217 A.H. = 832 a.d., the same year in which 
Sabhr-isho' 11. succeeded to the patriarchate \ a 
young man named Thomas, the son of one Jacob 
of Beth Sherwanaye, in the district of Salakh^, 
entered the convent of Beth 'Abhe, which seems 
at this time to have fallen off sadly in respect of 
the learning of its inmates ^ A few years after- 
wards (222 A.H. = 837 A.D.) we find him acting as 
secretary to the patriarch Abraham (also a monk 
of Beth 'Abhe, who sat from 837 to 850)^ By 
him he was promoted to be bishop of Marga, and 
afterwards metropolitan of Beth Garmai, in which 
capacity he was present at the ordination of his 
ow^n brother Theodosius (bishop of al-Anbar, 
afterwards metropolitan of Gunde-Shabhor) as 
catholicus in 8521 Thomas of Marga (as he is 
commonly called), having been very fond from his 
youth of the legends and histories of holy men, 
more especially of those connected with his own 
convent of Beth 'Abhe, undertook to commit 
them to writing at the urgent request of the 

1 B.0.,\\. 435; iii. 1, 505 .s^. 

2 Ihid., iii. 1, 479 ; HofFmann, AuszUge, pp. 244-245. 

3 B.O.^ iii. 1, 488 ; comp. the ordinance of Sabhr-I.sliO', 
pp. 505-506. 

4 B.O., iii. 1, 204, col. 1, 488, col. 2, 490, col. 2. 

5 Ibid., iii. 1, 210, 510, col. 2. 



220 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

monk 'Abhd-isho', to whom he dedicates the 
Monastic History. Assemani has given a tolerably 
full analysis of this work, with a few extracts, in 
the B.O., iii. 1, 464-501, throughout which volume 
it is one of his chief authorities. [It has now 
been published in a complete form by Budge, who 
has also supplied an introduction and an English 
translation \] The MSS. available in Europe are — 
Cod. Vat. clxv. (Catal, iii. 331), of which Codd. 
Yatt. ccclxxxi.-ii. are a copy (Mai, Scriptt. Vett 
Nova Coll., v.); Paris, No. 286 in Zotenberg's 
Catal, p. 216 (also copied from Vat. clxv.); Brit. 
Mus. Orient. 2316 (ff. 182, I7th century, imper- 
fect) ; Berlin, Sachau 179 (copied in 1882). 
Thomas also wrote a poem in twelve-syllable 
metre on the life and deeds of Maran-'ammeh, 
metropolitan of Hedhaiyabh, which he introduced 
into his History, bk. iii. ch. 10; see B.O., iii. 1, 
485. 

Isho'-dadh of Maru or Merv, bishop of He- 
dhatta or al-Hadithah, was a competitor with 
Theodosius for the patriarchate in 852^. Accord- 
ing to 'Abhd-isho', his principal work was a 
commentary on the New Testament, of which 
there are MSS. in Berlin, Sachau 311, and in the 

1 [The Book of Governors: the Historia Monastiea of 
Thomas Bishop of Marga, a.d. 840, London, 1893.] 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 210-212. 



iSHO'-DADH OF MERV. — KENDl. 221 

collection of the S.P.C.K. It extended, however, 
to the Old Testament as well, for in Cod. Vat. 
cccclvii. w^e find the portions relating to Genesis 
and Exodus \ 

In the B.O., iii. 1, 213, 'Abhd-isho' names a 
certain Kendi as the author of a lengthy disputa- 
tion on the faith I Assemani places this "Candius" 
or "Ebn Cauda" under the catholicus John IV., 
apparently on the authority of 'Amr ibn Matta. 
We suspect, however, that the person meant is 
'Abd al-Masih (Ya'kub) ibn Ishak al-Kindi, the 
author of a well known apology for the Christian 
religion, which has been published by the Society 
for Promoting Christian Knowledge ^ The w^ork 
dates from the time of the caliph al-Ma'mun 
(813-833), and therefore synchronizes with the 
disputations of Theodore Abu Korrah, bishop of 
Harran^ Being written in Arabic, it hardly 
belongs to this place, but is mentioned to avoid 
misapprehension. 

1 Mai, Scriptt. Veit. Nova Coll., v. The name of the 
author is there given as lesciuaad, doubtless a misprint for 
dad. We are therefore surprised to find Martin writing 
"Ichou-had eveque d'Hadeth," Introd. a la Critique Tex- 
tuelle du Nouveau Test., p. 99. 

2 The correct reading is dhe-haimdnuthd. 

3 The ApologT/ of M-Kindi, l8Sb. An English transla- 
tion appeared in 1882, The Apology of Al-Kindy, &c., by 
Sir W. Muir. 

4 See Zotenberg, Catal, No. 204, 1 and 8, and No. 205. 



222 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Theodore bar Khoni is stated to have been 
promoted by his uncle John IV. to the bishopric 
of Lashom in 893 ^ He was the author of scholia 
(on the Scriptures), an ecclesiastical history, and 
some minor works. 

To about this period probably belongs another 
historian, the loss of whose work we have to 
regret. This is a writer named Ahr5n or Aaron, 
who is mentioned by Elias bar Shinaya under 
273 A.H. = 886-887 a.d.2 

In the 10th century the tale of Jacobite 
authors dwindles away to almost nothing. Most 
of the dignitaries of the church composed their 
synodical epistles and other official writings in 
Arabic, and the same may be said of the men of 
science, such as Abu 'Ali 'Isa ibn Ishak ibn 
Zur ah (943-1008) and Abu Zakariya Yahya ibn 
'Adi, who died in 974 at the age of eighty-one. 
About the middle of the century we may venture 
to place the deacon Simeon, whose Chronicle is 
cited by Elias bar Shinaya under 6 A.H. = 627- 
628 A.D. and 310 = 922-923^ The 11th century 
is somewhat more prolific. 

A Persian Christian named Gisa^ leaving his 

1 B.O., ii. 440; ill. 1, 198. 

2 See Baethgen, Fragmente, p. 3. 

3 Ihid.., p. 2; Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 126, 
note 1. 

'* Others write Gaiyasa. 



JOHN OF MARON. 223 

native city of Ushnukh or Ushnu in Adharbaigan, 
settled, after several removals, in the district of 
Gubos or Gubas^ one of the seven dioceses of 
the province of Melitene (Malatiah), and built 
there a humble church, in which he deposited 
sundry relics of St Sergius and St Bacchus, and 
cells for himself and his three companions. This 
happened in 958 2. As the place grew in import- 
ance, other monks gradually resorted to it, and 
among them "Mar(i) Yohannan de-Maron," or 
John (the son) of Maron^, a man of learning in 
both sacred and profane literature, who had 
studied under Mar Mekim at Edessa. Gisa, the 
founder of the convent, died at the end of twelve 
years, and was succeeded as abbot by his disciple 
Elias, who beautified the church. Meantime its 
fame increased as a seat of learning under the 
direction of John of Maron, and many scribes 
found employment there. The patriarch John 
VII., da-s^righta, " He of the Mat " (his only 

^ Bar-Hebrseiis, Chron. Eccles.^ i. 401 sq. ; B.O.^ ii. 283, 
350. 

2 B.O.y ii. 260. Gubos was on the right bank of the 
Euphrates, between the plain of Mehtene and Claudia. 

3 Abbeloos, in a note on Bar-Hebrreus, Chron. Eccles., 
i. 404, raises the question what connexion there may be 
between this historical personage and the somewhat 
shadowy "Joannes Maro," to whom Assemani has de- 
voted a large space, B.O.^ i. 496-520. 



224 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

article of furniture)\ was one of its visitors. 
Elias, on his retirement, nominated John of Maron 
as his successor, who, aided by the munificence of 
Emmanuel, a monk of Harran and a disciple of 
the maphrian Cyriacus-, rebuilt the church on a 
larger and finer scale, whilst a constant supply of 
fresh water was provided at the cost of a Tagh- 
ritan merchant named Marutha. This was in 
1001. About this time Elias bar Gaghai, a monk 
of Taghrith, founded a monastery near Melitene, 
but died before it was finished. His work was 
taken up by one Eutychus or Kulaib, who per- 
suaded John of Maron to join him. Here again 
his teaching attracted numbers of pupils. At 
last, after the lapse of twelve years, when there 
were 120 priests in the convent, he suddenly 
withdrew by night from the scene of his labours 
and retired to the monastery of Mar Aaron near 
Edessa, where he died at the end of four years, 
about 1017. His commentary on the book of 
Wisdom is cited by Bar-Hebraeus in the Ausar 

Mark bar Kiki was archdeacon of the Tagh- 
ritan church at Mosul, and was raised to the 
dignity of maphrian by the name of Ignatius in 

1 B.O., ii. 132, 351. 

2 Ihid., ii. 442. 

3 Ihid., ii. 283 ; see also p. cl. 



YESHtJ' BAR SHUSH AN. 225 

991 \ After holding this office for twenty-five 
years, he became a Muhammadan in 101 6-, but 
recanted before his death, which took place at an 
advanced age^ in great poverty. He composed a 
poem on his own fall, misery, and subsequent 
repentance, of which Bar-Hebrseus has preserved 
a few lines ^ 

According to Assemani, B.O., ii. 317 and cl., 
Bar-Hebrseus mentions in his Chronicle that a 
monk named Joseph wrote three discourses on the 
cruel murder of Peter the deacon by the Turks at 
Melitene in 1058. The anecdote may be found in 
the edition of Bruns and Kirsch, p. 252 (transl., 
p. 258) [ed. Bedjan, p. 238], but the discourses 
would seem rather to have dealt with the retri- 
bution that overtook the retiring Turks at the 
hands of the Armenians and the wintry weather. 

Yeshu bar Shushan (or Susanna), syncellus of 
Theodore or John IX., was chosen patriarch by 
the eastern bishops, under the name of John X., 
in opposition to Haye or Athanasius VI., on whom 
the choice of their western brethren had fallen in 



1 Bar-Hebr£eus, Chron. Ecdes., ii. 257; B.O., ii. 443. 

2 See Baethgen, Fragmente^ pp. 105, 153; B.O., iii. 289, 
note 1. 

^ According to Cardahi, Liher Thesauri^ p. 140, in 1030 
or 1040. 

^ Chron. Eccles., ii. 289 ; B.O., ii. 443, and also p. cl. 

S. L. 15 



226 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

1058\ He soon abdicated, however, retired to a 
convent, and devoted himself to study. On the 
death of Athanasius he was reelected patriarch in 
1064, and sat till 10731 He carried on a con- 
troversy with the patriarch of Alexandria, Christo- 
dulus, regarding the mixing of salt and oil with 
the Eucharistic bread according to the Syrian 
practice^. He compiled an anaphora, issued a 
collection of twenty-four canons ^ and wrote many 
epistles ^ chiefly controversial. Such are the let- 
ters in Arabic to Christodulus on the oil and salt^ 
and the letter to the catholicus of the Armenians'". 
The tract on the oil and salt is extant in Paris, 
Anc. fonds 54 (Zotenberg, Gatal., p. 71), and there 
is an extract from it in Suppl. 32 (Zotenberg, 
Catal., p. 54). Bar-Shushan also wrote four 
poems on the sack of Melitene by the Turks in 
1058^ and collected and arranged the works of 
Ephraim and Isaac of Antioch, which he had 

1 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles.^ i. 437 sg-. ; B.O., ii. 141 
(where there are errors, see Add., p. 475), 354. 

2 Bar-Hebreeus, Chron. Eccles.^ i. 445; B.O.^ ii. 143 
(where there are again many errors, see Add., p. 475), 355. 

3 B.O., ii. 144, 356. 

^ Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles.^ i. 446; B.O.^ ii. 355. 

5 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 447 ; B.O., ii. 355. 

6 B.O., ii. 508, col. 2. 

7 Ihid., ii. 211, 383; Berlin, Sachau 60, 1. 

« Bar-Hebr£eus, Chron. Sp\, p. 252 (transL, p. 258) [ed. 
Bedjan, p. 238] ; B.O., ii. 317. 



SA'iD BAR SABUNi. 227 

begun to write out with his own hand when he 
was interrupted by deaths 

Sa'id bar Sabuni lived during the latter part 
of the 11th century. He was versed in Greek as 
well as Syriac, and well known as a literary man^, 
especially as a writer of hymns ^. The patriarch 
Athanasius VII. Abu '1-Faraj bar Khammare 
(1091-1129) raised him to the office of bishop of 
Melitene (Malatiah) in October 1094. His conse- 
cration took place at Kankerath, near Amid, by 
the name of John, and he set out for Malatiah, 
which he entered on the very day that the gates 
were closed to keep out the Turks, who laid siege 
to it under Kilij Arslan (Da'ud ibn Sulaiman), 
sultan of Iconium. He was murdered during the 
course of the siege, in July 1095, by the Greek 
commandant Gabriel'^. 

The Nestorian writers of these two centuries 



1 Bar-Hebr0eiis, Cliron. Fccles., i. 447; B.O., ii. 355. 

2 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., 1. 463; B.O., ii. 211- 
212. 

3 See one of these, an acrostic canon, used in the 
service of the assumption of the monastic garb, in Cod. 
Vat. n. {Catal, ii. 321, No. 31), Brit. Mus. 17232 (Wright, 
Catal., p. 372, No. 22), Paris, Suppl. 38 (Zotenberg, Catal., 
p. 74, No. 34), Bodl. Hunt. 444 (P. Smith, Catal, p. 243, 
No. 9). 

4 Bar-Hebraeus, C/iro)i. Sjj)'., pp. 278-279 (tran.sl., pp. 
284-285) [ed. Bedjan, p. 262]." 

15—2 



228 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

are both more numerous and more important 
than the Jacobite. 

We may place at the head of our list the 
name of Henan-isho' bar Saroshwai, who must 
have lived quite early in the 10th century, as he 
is cited by Elias of Anbar, who wrote about 922 ^ 
He was bishop of Herta (al-Hirah), and published 
questions on the text of Scripture and a vocabulary 
with glosses or explanations-, which is constantly 
cited by his successor in this department of 
scholarship. Bar Bahlul^. 

With Bar Saroshwai we naturally connect 
Isho' bar Bahlul, in Arabic Abu 1-Hasan 'Isa ibn 
al-Bahlul, the fullest and most valuable of Syriac 
lexicographers. His date is fixed by that of the 
election of the catholicus 'Abhd-isho' I., in which 
he bore a part, in 963 ^ 

'Abhd-isho' in his Catalogue, B.O., iii. 1, 261, 
mentions an author Abhzudh, a teacher in some 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 260, col. 2, at foot. 

2 ffaskhdthd are XPW^''^ ^^^ Xe^eis', see Hoffmann, 
Opusc. Nestor., p. xiii. 

3 B.O., iii. 1, 261 ; see Payne Smith, Thes. Sp\, passim. 

4 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., iii. 251; B.O., ii. 442, 
iii. 1, 200, col. 2 ; Gesenius, De BA et BB, p. 26; see Payne 
Smith, Thes. Syr., passim. An edition of his Lexicon, by 
M. K. Duval, is being printed in Paris at the expense of 
the French Government; [parts 1, 2, and 3 (extending to 
the end of I>0) appeared in 1888, 1890, and 1892 respec- 
tively]. 



ABHZUDH. 229 

school or college (eskdldyd), who composed a 
treatise containing demonstrations on various 
topics, alphabetically arranged and dedicated to 
his friend Kurta\ In note 5 Assemani makes 
the very circumstantial statement, but without 
giving his authority, that Abhzudh was head of 
the college founded at Baghdadh about 832 by 
Sabhr-isho' IP, under Sergius (860-872). But, 
if this wi'iter be identical, as seems probable, with 
the Bazudh who was the author of a Book of 
Definitions described at some length by Hoff- 
mann, De Hermeneuticis apud Syros Aristoteleis, 
pp. 151-153, we must place him nearly a century 
later, because he cites the " scholia " of Theodore 
bar Khoni, who was appointed bishop of Lashdm 
in 893 ^ The whole matter is, however, very 
obscure, and Hoffmann has subsequently (Opusc. 
Nestor., p. xxii) sought to identify Bazudh, who 
was also called Michael {ibid., p. xxi), with the 
Michael who is mentioned as a commentator on 
the Scriptures by 'Abhd-isho', B.U., iii. 1, 147, 
and whom Assemani supposed to be the same as 
Michael bishop of al-Ahwaz (died in 852 or 
854)-*. All then that appears to be certain is that 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 261. ^ Ibid., ii. 435. 

3 See above, p. 222. 

^ B.O., iii. 1, 210, note 2, col. 2. Michael's Book of 
Questions is quoted by Solomon of al-Basrah in The Bee, 
ed. Budge, p. 135. 



230 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

the Persian Bazudh also bore the Christian name 
of Michael, and that, besides the alphabetically 
arranged demonstrations and the Book of Defini- 
tions, he composed a tract on man as the micro- 
cosm \ 

Elias, bishop of Peroz-Shabhor or al-Anbar, 
flourished about 922, as appears from his disputes 
with the catholicus Abraham (905-937 )^ and his 
account of the miserable bishop Theodore of Beth 
Garmai, who, after his deposition by John bar 
Heghire (900-905) and subsequent absolution by 
Abraham, became a Muhammadan^ He was the 
author of a collection of metrical discourses in 
three volumes^, an apology, epistles, and homilies^ 

George, metropolitan of Mosul and Arbel, was 
promoted to this dignity by the catholicus Em- 
manuel about 945, and died after 987. He con- 
tested the patriarchate three times but in vain, 
viz., — in 961, when Israel was elected^ in 963, 

1 Hoffmann, op. cit., p. xxi. 

2 B.O.^ iii. 1, 258, note 3; Baethgen, Fragmente, pp. 
84, 141. 

3 B.O., iii. 1, 234, col. 1, at foot. 

4 B.O., iii. 1, 258-260; Cod. Vat. clxxxiii. {Gated., iii. 
383); Berlin, Sachaii 132; collection of the S.P.C.K.; 
Cardah!, Liher Thesauri, pp. 72-76. 

^ In Cod. Vat. xci. {Catal., ii. 491, No. 35) there is a 
homily ascribed to Elias of Anbar, but the Syriac text has 
Paul. 

e B.O., ii. 442. 



EMMANUEL BAR SHAHHARE. 231 

when 'Abhd-isho' I. was the successful candidates 
and in 987, when the choice of the synod fell on 
Mari bar Tobi^ His chief work was an exposition 
of the ecclesiastical offices for the whole year, in 
seven sections, of which Assemani has given a full 
analysis in j5.0., iii. 1, 518-540^ Some specimens 
of his turgame or hymns may be found in Codd. 
Vatt. xc. and xci. {Catal, ii. 487, No. 27, and 490, 
No. 24), and Berlin, Sachau 167, 2. 

The date of Emmanuel bar Shahhare"* is fixed 
by his presence at the consecration of 'Abhd-isho 
I. in 9631 He was teacher in the school of Mar 
Gabriel in the convent called the Daira 'EUaita at 
Mosul Cardahi places his death in 980^. Besides 
some minor expository treatises, he wrote a huge 
work on the Hexaemeron or six days of creation''. 
The Vatican MS.^ contains twenty-eight discourses, 
of which the second is wanting, and a twenty-ninth 

1 B.O., ii. 442; iii. 1, 200, col. 2. 

2 Ibid., ii. 443. 

3 See also Codd. Vatt. cxlviii., cxlix., and cliii., in 
Catal., iii. 277 sq. In Cod. Vat. cl. {Catal, iii. 280) there 
are questions regarding various services, baptism, and 
communion at Easter. 

4 See B.O., iii. 1, 540. In Arabic ash-Shahbilr or, 
according to another reading, ash-Sha"ar (see end of this 
paragraph). 

•' B.O., iii. 1, 200, col. 2. 

^ Liber Thesauri, p. 71. "/>.(>., iii. 1, 277. 

8 No. clxxxii., Catal, iii. 380. 



232 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

is added On Baptism. It is dated 1707. The 
MS. in the Brit. Mus., Orient. 1300, dated 1685, 
also contains twenty-eight discourses, of which the 
second is wanting \ Some of them are in seven- 
syllable, others in twelve-syllable metre 2. Cardahi 
has published a specimen in his Liber Tliesauri, 
pp. 68-71. Emmanuel's brother, 'Abhd-isho' bar 
Shahhare, is mentioned by Assemani, B.O., iii. 540, 
and by Cardahi. The latter has printed part of 
one of his poems, on Michael of Amid, a companion 
of Mar Eugenius, in Lihei^ Thesaiu^i, pp. 136-137. 
It is taken from Cod. Vat. clxxxiv. {Catal., iii. 
395). But there the author is called Bar Shi'arah, 
0i5]2^-»fi:i, and is said to have been a monk of the 
convent of Michael (at Mosul). 

Somewhere about the end of this century we 
may venture to place a writer named Andrew, to 
whom 'Abhd-isho' has given a place in his Cata- 
logue, and whom Assemani has chosen to identify 
with the well known Andrew, bishop of Samosata, 
the opponent of Cyril of Alexandria I The words 

1 There are two MSS. in Berlin, Sachau 169-170 and 
309-310 (see Sachau, Reise, pp. 364-365), and one in the 
collection of the S. P. O.K. 

2 In the MS. Brit. Mus. it is said that this is only the 
fourth volume of the ZTe^amero/i, |A.a-L-».^5 \LtC\'\<^ 

3 B,0. iii. 1, 202. 



ANDREW. — ELIAS I. 233 

of 'Abhd-isho', if we understand them rightly, 
mean that this Andrew wrote turgame (or hymns 
of a particular kind) and a work on puhhdm seyclme, 
the placing of the diacritical and vowel points and 
marks of interpunction\ He was therefore an 
inoffensive grammarian. 

Elias, the first Nestorian catholicus of the 
name, was a native of Karkha dhe-Gheddan^, was 
trained in Baghdadh and al-Madain, and became 
bishop of Tirhan, whence he was advanced to the 
primacy in 1028, and sat till 10491 According to 
'Abhd-isho', he compiled canons and ecclesiastical 
decisions, and composed grammatical tracts^ 
According to Mari ibn Sulaiman^, he was the 
author of a work on the principles of religion in 
twenty-two chapters, which may be identical with 
the second of the above, and of a form of con- 
secration of the altar (kuddds al-madhhah). His 
Grammar was composed in his younger days, 
before he became bishop. It has been edited and 

1 See Hofifmann, Opusc. Nestor., pp. vii., viii. ,And so 
Abraham Ecchellensis rendered the words, lihrum de 
ratione punctandi. 

2 In Arabic Karkh Juddan, in Beth Garmai ; see 
Hoffmann, Ausziige, pp. 254, 275. 

3 B.O., iii. 262-263; Bar-Hebrteus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 
285-287. 

^ B.O., iii. 1, 265. 
-'■• Ibid., p. 263, col. 1. 



234 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

translated from a MS. at Berlin^ by Baethgen^. 
A tract of his on the diacritical points and marks 
of interpunction is cited and used by John bar 
Zo'bP. 

Abu Sa'id 'Abhd-isho' bar Bahriz was abbot 
of the convent of Elias or Sa'id at Mosul, and a 
candidate for the patriarchate when Elias I. was 
elected in 1028. He was subsequently promoted 
to be metropolitan of Athor or Mosul ^ He col- 
lected ecclesiastical canons and decisions^, wrote 
on the law of inheritance®, and an exposition of 
the offices of the church. 

Assemani has assigned the same date to Daniel 
(the son) of Tubhanitha, bishop of Tahal in Beth 
Garmai, but without any sufficient reason''. If he 
be really identical with the Daniel to whom 
George, metropolitan of Mosul and Arbel, dedi- 

1 Alter Bestand 36, 15, in Kurzes Verzeich7iiss, &c., 
p. 31. 

2 Syrische Orammatik des Mar Elias von Tirhan, 1880. 
[See Merx, Hist, artis gramm. ap. Syros, p. 154 sg-.] 

3 See B.O., iii. 1, 265, note 7; Catal. Vat, iii. 411 
(under No. ii.) ; Wright, Catal, p. 1176, col. 2. 

4 B.O., iii. 1, 263-264. ^ j^q^^ ^ i^ 279. 
6 Ihid., p. 267, col. 2, lin. penult. 

'' That he follows 'Abhd-Isho' bar Bahriz in the Cata- 
logue of 'Abhd-isho' is no evidence whatever as to his 
date; and the work mentioned in B.O., iii. 1, 174, notes 3 
and 4, is not by Bar Bahriz, but by George of Mosul and 
Arbel (see Cod. Vat. cliii.). 



ELIAS BAR SHINAYA. 235 

cated his exposition of the offices of the church, 
he must have lived about the middle of the 
previous century. He wrote funeral sermons, 
metrical homilies, answers to Scriptural questions 
and enigmas, and other stuff of the same sort. 
More important probably were his " Book of 
Flowers," Kethdbhd dhe-Habhdbhe, which may have 
been a poetical florilegium ; his Solution of the 
Questions in the Fifth Volume of Isaac of Nineveh's 
Works: and his commentary on the Heads of 
Knowledge or maxims (of Evagrius)^ 

Conspicuous among the writers of this century 
is Elias bar Shinaya, who was born in 975 ^ 
adopted the monastic life in the convent of 
Michael at Mosul under the abbot John the Lame^ 
and was ordained priest by Nathaniel, bishop of 
Shenna (as-Sinn), who afterwards became cathol- 
icus under the name of John V. (1001-12)^ 
Elias was subsequently in the convent of Simeon 
on the Tigris opposite Shenna, and was made 
bishop of Beth Nuhadhre in 1002^ At the end 
of 1008 he was advanced to the dignity of metro- 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 174. 

^ Rosen, Catal., p. 89, col. 2. 

3 B.O., iii. 1, 266, note 3, 271, col. 1. 

4 Baethgen, Fragmente, pp. 101, 151; 104, 153; com- 
pare Bar-Hebrseus, Chroii. Ecdes., ii. 261, 281 ; B.O., ii. 
444. 

^ Baethgen, Fragmente, pp. 101, 152. 



236 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

politan of Nisibis\ With the next patriarch, 
John VI. bar Nazol (1012-20)', previously bishop 
of Herta, he was on good terms ; but he set his 
face against Isho'-yabh bar Ezekiel (1020-25)^ 
Under Elias I. (1028-49) all seems to have been 
quiet again. That our author survived this patri- 
arch is clear from his own words in B.O., iii. 1, 268, 
col. 2, 11. 19, 20 ^ His greatest work is the Annals 
or Chronicle, of which unfortunately only one 
imperfect copy exists ^ Baethgen has published 
extracts from it under the title of Fragmente syr. 
u. arab. Historiker, 1884, which have enabled 
scholars to recognize its real importance ^ The 
exact date of the Annals, and probably of the 
writing of the unique copy, is fixed by the state- 
ment of the author, f lob, that John, bishop of 

1 Baethgen, Fraffmente, pp. 103, 152. 

2 Ibid., -pip. 104, 153; Bar-Hebreeus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 
283; B.0.,\\. 446. 

3 B.O., iii. 1, 272. 

■i Consequently the statement in B.O., ii. 447, is in- 
accurate. Cardahl {Liher Thesauri, p. 84) names 1056. 

5 Brit. Mus. Add. 7197 (Eosen, Catal, pp. 86-90; 
Wright, Catal, p. 1206). 

6 Baethgen has overlooked Wright's Catal., p. 1206, 
and the plate in the Oriental Series of the Palceographical 
Society, No. Ixxvi. The Syriac text was evidently written 
by an amanuensis, whereas the older Arabic text was 
probably written by Elias himself. [Further extracts 
(from A.D. 133 to 622) in Lamy, Elie de Nisihe, sa 
Chronologie, Brussels, 1888 {Bidl. Ac. Roy. Bely.).] 



ELIA8 BAR SHINAYA. 237 

Herta, was ordained catholicus on Wednesday, 19th 
of the latter Teshrin, A. Gr. 1324 (19th November 
1012 A.D.), and that he still ruled the Nestorian 
Church ''down to this year in which this work 
was composed, namely, A. Gr. 1330" (1018-19)'. 
After the Annals we may mention Elias's Syriac 
grammar, one of the best of the Nestorian writings 
on the subject-, and his Arabic-Syriac vocabulary, 
Kitdh at-Tarjmnan fi tallni lughat as-Suryan or 
" the Interpreter, to teach the Syriac Language." 
It has been edited by De Lagarde in his Prceter- 
missoruni Lihri Duo, 1879, and was the store- 
house from which Thomas a Novaria derived his 
Thesaurus Arahico-Syro-Latinus, 1636. Elias was 
also a composer of hymns, some of which occur in 
the Nestorian service-books^, and of metrical ho- 
milies, apparently of an artificial character^ He 

^ There are some extracts from the Annals in Berlin, 
Sachaii 108, 2. 

2 There are MSS. in the Brit. Mus. Add. 25876, Or. 
2314 (frag.); Vat. Cod. cxciv. {Catal, iii. 410), Codd. ccccx. 
ccccl. (Mai, Scriptt. Vett. Nova Coll., v.) ; Palat. Medic, 
ccclxi. {Catal, p. 419); Berhn, Sachau 5, 2, also 216, 1, 
and 306, 1 ; and in the collection of the S.P.C.K. The 
work has been edited by Dr R. Gottheil, Berlin, 1887 ; 
[and Merx has described it in his Hist, artis gramm. ap. 
Si/ros, chap. viii.]. 

3 E.g., Cod. Vat. xc. {Catal., ii. 487), Nos. 13, 15, 17, 
18; Cod. Vat. xci. {Catal, ii. 491), Nos. 12, 14, 16, 17; 
Berlin, Sachau 64, 10. 

^ See Cod. Vat. clxxxiv. {Catal, iii. 390), a poem on 



238 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

edited four volumes of decisions in ecclesiastical 
law, which are often cited by 'Abhd-isho' of 
Nisibis in his Collectio Canonum Synodicorum^ ; 
indeed the third section, " On the Division of 
Inheritances," is entirely borrowed from the work 
of Elias^. Of his epistles that to the bishops and 
people of Baghdadh on the illegal ordination of 
Isho'-yabh bar Ezekiel is preserved in Cod. Vat. 
cxxix. (Catal, iii. 191 )^ Six of his Arabic dissert- 
ations have been described by Assemani in the 
J5.0., iii. 1, 270-272. The most important of them 
appears to be No. 5, a disputation, in seven 
sessions or chapters, with the vizir Abu '1-Kasim 
al-Husain ibn 'Ali al-Maghribi, preceded by a 
letter to the secretary Abu 'l-'Ala Sa id ibn Sahl. 
These meetings took place in 1026, and the work 
was committed to writing in 1027, after the death 
of the vizir at Maiyafarikin in October, and 
published with the approbation of the celebrated 
commentator, philosopher, and lawyer Abu '1-Faraj 
' Abdallah ibn at-Taiyib*, who was secretary to the 

the love of learning, in which the letter Alaph does not 
occur. It is printed by Cardahi in the Liber Thesauri, 
pp. 83-84. 

1 Mai, Scriptt. Vett. Nova Coll., x. 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 267-269; Mai, op. cit, v. pp. 54, 220. 

3 B.O., iii. 1, 272-273. 

4 He died in 1043; see B.O., iii. 1, 544; Wustenfeld, 
Gesch. d. arab. Aerzte, No. 132; Ibn Abi Usaibi'ah, ed. 



TRANSLATIONS: KALILAH WA-DIMNAIL 239 

patriarch Elias I. The anonymous work described 
in full by Assemani {B.O., iii. 1, 303-306) under 
the title of Kitcibu 'l-Burhan 'aid sahlhi (or rather 
f% tashlhi) l-imdn, "The Demonstration of the 
Truth of the Faith," is also by him\ 

Here we may pause in our enumeration to cast 
an eye upon some anonymous translations, which we 
are inclined to ascribe to the 10th and 11th cent- 
uries, and which are interesting as showing what 
the popular literature of the Syrians was, compared 
with that of their theologians and men of science. 

We have already spoken of the older translation 
of Kalllagh we-Damnagh, made by the periodeutes 
Bodh in the 6th century of our era (see above, 
p. 124). About the middle of the 8th century 
there appeared an independent Arabic translation 
from the Pahlavi by 'Abdallah ibn al-Mukaffa', 
which, under the name of Kalllah wa-Dimnah, 
has been the parent of secondary versions in the 
Syriac, Persian, Greek, Hebrew, and Spanish 
languages-. The Syriac version was discovered 

Mliller, i. 239; Bar-Hebroeus, Hist. Dynast. ^ p. 355 (transl., 
p. 233); Chron. Syr., p. 239 (transL, p. 244) [ed. Bedjaii, 
p. 226] ; Chron. Eccles., ii. 283. 

1 See the German translation by L. Horst, Des Metro- 
politen Elias von Nisibis Buck vom Beweis der Wahrheit d. 
Glaitbeiis, Colmar, 1886. 

2 See Keith-Falconer, Kalllah and Dimnah or the 
Fables of Bidpai, 1885, Introduction. 



240 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

by the present writer in a unique MS. in the 
library of Trinity College, Dublin, and published 
by him in 1884\ It is evidently the work of a 
Christian priest, living at a time when the condition 
of the Syrian Church was one of great degradation, 
and the power of the caliphate on the wane, so 
that the state of society was that of complete 
disorder and licentiousness 2, a description which 
would very well apply to the 10th or 11th century. 
Indeed we could not place it much later, because 
part of the unique MS. goes back to the 13th 
century, and even its text is very corrupt, showing 
that it had passed through the hands of several 
generations of scribes. " The chief value of this 
later Syriac version is that it sheds light on the 
original text of the Arabic K. w, D. The Arabic 
text which the Syriac translator had before him 
must have been a better one than De Sacy's, 
because numbers of Guidi's extracts ^ which are 
not found at all in De Sacy's text, appear in their 
proper places in the later Syriac ^" 

To about the same period, judging by the 
similarity of style and language, we would assign 

1 Wright, The Book of Kalllah and Dimnah, translated 
from Arabic into Syriac. 

2 See Wright's Preface, p. x\ sq. 

3 See Guidi, Studii sul Testo Araho del Lihro di Kalila 
e Dimna, 1873. 

* Keith-Falconer, op. cit., p. Ix. 



TRANSLATIONS: SINDBAN, J^SOP'S FABLES. 241 

the Syriac version of the book of Sindibddh. This 
work was translated, probably in the latter half of 
the 8th century, from Pahlavi into Arabic by 
Musa, a Muhammadan Persian. It is, as Noldeke 
has shown \ the smaller of the two recensions 
known to the Arabs, the larger, entitled Aslam (?) 
and Sindibadh, being the work of al-Asbagh ibn 
'Abd al-'Aziz as-Sijistanl. The smaller Sindibddh 
was in its turn done into Syriac, and thence into 
Greek by Michael Andreopulus for Gabriel, prince 
of Melitene (1086-1100), as discovered by Com- 
paretti-, under the name of ^vvriira^ (Sindipas), 
just as Kalilah iva-Dimnah was translated by 
Symeon (the son of) Seth for the emperor Alexius 
Comnenus, who ascended the throne in 1081. 
The Syriac version, which bears the title of the 
Story of Sindbdn and the Philosophers who were 
with him, has been edited by Baethgen, with a 
German translation and notes, from the unique 
MS. in the Royal Library at Berlin I 

Somewhere between the 9th and 11th cen- 
turies we would place the Syriac translation of 
Esop's (JEsop's) Fables, which has been edited 

1 Z.D.M.G., xxxiii. (1879), pp. 521-522. 

2 Ricerche intorno at Libro di Smdibdd, 1869, p. 28 sq. ; 
The Folk-lore Society/, vol. ix. 1, p. 57 sq. 

3 Alt. Bestand 57, fF. 60-87. A small specimen had 
already been published by Rodiger, Chrestom. Si/?'., 2d ed., 
pp. 100-101. 

S. L. 16 



24j2 syriac literature. 

under a somewhat Jewish garb by Landsberger\ 
who imagined himself to have found the Syriac 
original of the fables of Syntipas (Sindipas), 
whereas Geiger^ clearly showed that we have here 
to do with a Syriac rendering of one of the forms 
of the fables of Esop. In fact, as Geiger pointed 
out, DISID^T is only a clerical error for 01^*1 D5<T 
In Syriac MSS. of this collection the title is 
written »cir)0<^ » mo i?, "of Josephus^" In some 
close relation to these stands the story of Joseph us 
and king Nebuchadnezzar in the Berlin MS. Alt. 
Bestand 57, ff. 16-57, with which are interwoven 
a number of Esopic fables. They have been 
edited (with the exception of two) by Rodiger in 
his Chrestom. Syr., 2d ed., pp. 97-100. 

[In speaking of the works of Jacob of Edessa, 
mention was made (p. 147 supra) of the anonymous 
treatise Causa omnium caitsarum^y which has been 
erroneously attributed to him^ Kayser^ and 

^ D1D1D1 i^vriD, Die Fabeln des Sophos, Syrisches Ori- 
ginal der Griechischen Fabeln des Syntipas, 1859. Compare 
his earlier dissertation, Fabulce aliquot Aramcece, 1846. 

2 Z.D.M.G., xiv. (1860), p. 586 s^. 

3 B.O., iii. 1, 7, with note 2. So, for example, MS. 
Trin. Coll. Dublin, B. 5, 32 (Wright, Kalllah and Dimnah, 
pp. ix., X.). 

4 [It has the alternative title Liber de cognitione veritatis. 

5 As by Pohlmann, in Z.D.M.G., xv. p. 648 5$'. 

6 Das Bitch von der Erkenntniss der Wahrheit (text) 
p. ii., note. 



CAUSA CAUSAE UM. — ABU GHALIB. 243 

Noldeke* have adduced reasons sufficient to prove 
that the book is from another hand, and at 
least not earlier than the 10th century. It gives 
an account of God, the worlds material and 
spiritual, and man, according to the views of 
the author's time. It claims to be "a common 
book for all peoples"; and the author, who was 
bishop of Edessa and therefore a Jacobite, shows 
a praiseworthy desire to avoid theological differ- 
ences, and to treat such doctrines as the Trinity 
in a spirit of conciliation towards Jews and 
Mussulmans, as well as towards all fellow-Christ- 
ians. The book exhibits in parts a somewhat 
mystical tone, akin to that of Stephen bar 
Sudhaile, but there is no evidence of direct 
dependence on him. The text was edited by 
Kayser in 1889 (Leipzig) : his translation into 
German appeared posthumously in 1893 (Strass- 
burg).] 

In the 12th century we find that the number 
of Syrian writers, whether Jacobite or Nestorian, 
is small, but two of the former sect are men of 
real mark. 

Abu Ghalib bar Sabuni, the younger brother 

of Sa id bar Sabuni (see above, p. 227), was almost 

as unfortunate as his brother. He was raised to 

the episcopate of Edessa after his brother's death 

1 Literarisches Centralblatt for 1889, col. 1003.] 

IG— 2 



244 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

by Athanasius VIL, but speedily deposed on 
account of a quarrel, although many of the 
Edessenes, among them the king Baldwin, brother 
of Godfrey of Bouillon, took his part. He died of 
a fall from his horse, shortly after the death of 
the patriarch in 1129\ Though a good scholar 
and linguist, he does not appear to have written 
anything that has come down to our times. 
Assemani, it is true, ascribes to him three poems 
in twelve-syllable metre on the capture of Edessa 
by Zengi ibn Ak-sunkur ; but, as this took place 
in 11442, ^\^Q writer must have been his successor, 
Basil bar Shumna (1143-69)1 

John*, bishop of Harran and Marde or Mardin, 
had charge of the Jacobite churches in the East, 
his diocese including Tell-Besme, Kephar-tutha, 
Dara, Nisibis, Ras'ain, and the Khabhora or 
Khabur. He was originally a monk of Edessa, 
was appointed bishop by Athanasius VII. in 
1125, and was killed by a fall from his horse in 
1165, at the age of seventy-eighth He devoted 

1 See B.O., ii. 212, 358-359 ; Bar-Hebraeus, Ckron. 
Fccles., i. 467-479. 

2 B.O., ii. cli. (comp. p. 317). 

3 See Bar-Hebreeus, Chron. Syr., p. 328 (transl., p. 335) 
[ed. Bedjan, p. 308] ; Chron. Ecdes., i. 497, 547. 

4 His baptismal name was probably Jacob; see B.O., 
ii. 230, col. 1, at the foot. 

5 B.O., ii. 216,226; Bar-Hebreeus, Chron. Eccles., i. 531. 



JOHN OF HARRAN AND MARDIN. 245 

himself chiefly to the restoration of the decayed 
churches and monasteries of his diocese, as may 
be seen from the autobiographical fragment in 
B.O., ii. 217 sq. From the same document, pp. 
224-225, it appears that he was fond of MSS., 
which he collected, repaired, and bound, and that 
he wrote with his ow^n hand four small copies of 
the Gospels in gold and silver. He enjoyed a 
well earned reputation as a land-surveyor and 
practical engineer^ Bar-Hebraeus notes his great 
liberality in redeeming the captive Edessenes 
who had been carried off by Zengi's troops-. The 
fall of Edessa (1144), however, w^as an event that 
got him into a great deal of trouble. He was 
ill-advised enough to write a treatise on the 
Providence of God, in which he maintained that 
chastisements of that kind were 7iot sent upon 
men by God, and that, if the troops of the Franks 
(Crusaders) had been there, Edessa would not 
have been taken by Zengi. Such rank heresy of 
course brought down upon him the whole bench 
of bishops. He was attacked by the priest 
Salibha of Karigarah (?)^ by John bishop of 
Kaisum*, John bar Andreas bishop of Mab- 

1 B.O., ii. 226 ; Bar-Hebrceus, Ckroii. Fcdes., i. 525-527. 

2 Chron. Eccles., i. 501. 

3 Died in 1164, B.O., ii. 362. 

4 B.O., ii. 364 ; Bar-Hebra3us, Chron. Ecdes., i. 501, 554, 
559. Died in 1171. 



246 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

bogh\ and Dionysius bar SalibP. He was also 
the compiler of an anaphora^ 

The star of this century among the Jacobites 
is undeniably Jacob bar Salibi of Melitene (Mala- 
tiah). He was created bishop of Mar ash, under 
the name of Dionysius, by Athanasius YIII. 
(Yeshu bar Ketrah, 1138-66) in 1145, and the 
diocese of Mabbogh was also placed under his 
charge ^ Michael I. (1166-99) transferred him 
to Amid, where he died in 11711 The list of his 
works, as quoted by Assemani from a Syriac MS., 
is very considerable ^ and he has dealt with them 
at great lengths We may mention the following. 
(1) Commentary on the Old Testament, of which 
only one complete MS. exists in Europe ^ The 

1 Afterwards of Tur-'Abhdin ; Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. 
Eccles.^ i. 515. He composed both in Armenian and 
Syriac, B.O., ii. 360, coll. 1, 2, 362, col. 1; Bar-Hebraeus, 
Chron. Ecdes., 1. 487. Died in 1156; B.O., ii. 362 ; Bar- 
Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 517; see Brit. Mus. Orient. 1017 
(Wright, Catal, pp. 897-898). 

2 B.O.^ ii. 207 ; Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 503. 

3 B.O., ii. 230. 

4 B.O., ii. 362 ; Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 513-515. 

5 B.O., ii. 363, 365 ; Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., i. 559. 

6 B.O., ii. 210; comp. Catal. Bihl. Law. et Palat. 
Medic, p. 79. ^ B.O., ii. 157-208. 

8 At Paris, Suppl, 92, in Zotenberg's Catal., No. 66. 
There are fragments in Anc. fonds 3 (Zotenberg, Catal., 
No. 9) ; see also Cod. Vat. xcvi. 29, 42, 43 (Psalms), 30 (on 
the Prophets). 



DIONYSIUS BAR SALIBI. 247 

order of the books is — the Pentateuch, Job, Joshua, 
Judges, Samuel and Kings, Psahns, Proverbs, 
Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah 
and Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, the twelve 
minor Prophets, and Ecclesiasticus. Each book 
has a material or literal and a spiritual or mystical 
commentary. Several of the books have two 
commentaries, one on the Peshitta, the other on 
the Hexaplar text ; Jeremiah has actually three, 
one on the Hexaplar, and two, a shorter and a 
longer, on the Peshitta. (2) Commentary on the 
New Testament, from which Assemani has given 
many extracts*. The order of the books is — the 
four Gospels, the Revelation of St John, the Acts 
of the Apostles, the seven apostolic epistles, and 
the fourteen epistles of St Paull (3) A compend- 

1 B.O., ii. 157-170. 

2 The Gospels are in Brit. Mus. Add. 7184 ; Cod. Vat. 
civ. 19-24, clvi., cclxxv.-ix. ; Paris, Anc. fonds 33, 34 
(Zotenberg, Catal, Nos. 67-68); Bodl. Or. 703, 2. St 
Matthew, Bodl. Hunt. 247. Revelation, &c., Brit. Mus. 
Add. 7185 ; Bodl. Or. 560. Dudley Loftus was the first to 
make use of these commentaries in his two works. The 
Exposition of Dionysius Syrus, written above 900 years 
since, on the Evaiigelist St Mark, translated by D.L. 
(Dublin, 1672), and A Clear and Learned Explication 
of the Histoi-y of our Blessed Saviour J.C., . . . by Dionys- 
ius Syrus, . . . translated by D. L. (Dublin, 1695) ; see 
Payne Smith, Catal., p. 411, notes d and f. Loftus's 
manuscript translations are in the Bodleian Library, Fell 
6 and 7. [Extracts from the Com. on the Apocalypse have 



248 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

ium of theology, of which we do not seem to 
have any MS. in Europe ; see B.O., ii. 163, col. 1, 
11. 18-15, and p. 170. (4) A copious treatise 
against heresies, dealing with the Muhammadans, 
the Jews, the Nestorians, the Dyophysites or 
supporters of the council of Chalcedon, and the 
Armenians \ (5) A treatise on the Providence of 
God, against John, bishop of Mardin^, apparently 
no longer extant. (6) Expositions of the Euchar- 
istic service ^ of the Nicene creeds of the 
consecration of the chrism s, of the services of 
consecration ^ and of the Jacobite confession of 
faiths (7) Canons on confession and absolution ^ 

been published, with notes and translation, by Dr J. 
Gwynn in Hermathena vi. 397 sq.^ vii. 137 sq. (the latter 
containing a summary of Hippolytus's interpretation of 
Matt. xxiv. 15-22).] 

1 B.O., ii. 170, 211. The section against the Muham- 
madans is contained in Cod. Vat. xcvi. 19, and that against 
the Nestorians in Paris, Anc. fonds 125 (Zotenberg, Catal., 
No. 209, 2). There is an extract from the latter in Bodl. 
Or. 467 (P. Smith, Catal, p. 561). From it is extracted 
the list of the Jacobite patriarchs in B.O.^ ii. 323, note 1. 

2 B.O., ii. 207 ; see above. 

3 B.O., ii. 176-208; Cod. Vat. cii., ccclxi. ; Brit. Mus. 
Or. 2307 (partly Arabic) ; Paris, Anc. fonds 35, 69, 125. 

4 Cod. Vat. chx. 4 ; Bodl. Marsh. 101. 

5 Cod. Vat. clix. 30 (in Arabic). 

6 B.O., ii. 171; comp. Cod. Vat. civ. 10, clix. 31. 

7 Bodl. Marsh. 101, f. 31. 

8 B.O., ii. 171. 



DIONYSIUS BAR SALIBI. 249 

(8) Two anaphorse or liturgies^ (9) Various 
prayers, procBmia, and sedrasl (10) Homilies, 
e.g., encomium on the patriarch Michael the 
Elder^ on the Passion of our Lord*, and on 
withholding the sacrament from those who abs- 
tain from communicating for a period of more 
than forty days^ (H) A commentary on the six 
Centuries of Evagrius^ (12) Two poems on the 
fall of Edessa (1144)^ three on the fall of Mar ash 
(1156)^ and two on another incident (1159)^ 
Among the works mentioned in the list in B.O., 
ii. 210-211, we cannot find any traces of the 
Commentarius in Scripta Doctorum, the Com- 
pendium Historiarum Patrum et Sanctorum et 
Marty rum, and the Compendium Canonum Apo- 
stolicorum, nor of the commentaries on the books 
of Dialectics, ibid., col. 1. Of the epistles two are 
extant in Arabic, Berlin, Sachau 61, 1, 2. From 

1 B.O., ii. 175. 2 jiicl., ii. 175. 

3 Jbid., ii. 170. Read, with slight alterations, on the 
installation of a bishop or patriarch. Cod. Vat. Ii. 26, 
ccciv. ; Paris, Suppl. 23. 

* Cod. Palat. Medic, xl. {Catal, p. 78). 

5 Cod. Palat. Medic. Ixii. {Catal., p. 107). 

e Berhn, Alt. Bestand 37, 1. 

7 B.O., ii. 317; Bar-Hebrceus, Chron. Si/r., 328 (transl., 
p. 335) [ed. Bedjan, p. 308]. 

8 B.O., ii. 317; Bar-Hebra3us, Chro7i. S^/r., 346-347 
[ed. Bedjan, p. 324]. 

9 ^.O.jii. 451-452 ; Bar-Hebrceus, Chron. Ecdes., ii. 351. 



250 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

a treatise On the Structure of Man there are two 
short extracts in Bodl. Marsh. 361, f. 39. Dionys- 
ius appears also to have revised the Jacobite 
order of baptism \ and to have drawn up a volume 
of services for the days of the week^ 

Michael the Elder^, the son of Elias, a priest 
of Melitene, of the family of Kindasi^ was abbot 
of the convent of Bar-sauma, near Melitene ^ 

1 Brit. Mus. Arund. Or. 11 (Kosen, Catal, p. 62, 
col. 2). 

2 Cod. Vat. ccccxxv., in Mai, Scriptt. Vett. Nova 

Coll., V. 

3 So called to distinguish him from his nephew Michael 
the Younger, Yeshti' Sephethana or " Big-lips," who became 
patriarch at Mehtene (1199-1215), in opposition to Athan- 
asius IX., Salibha Keraha (the Bald), at Mardin (1199- 
1207), and John XIV., Yeshu* the scribe (1208-20). 

4 Bar-Hebrseus, Chro7i. Eccles., i. 537. 

5 Assemani expressly says "at Shenna" (read (j.-»5), 
B.O., ii. 154, but the hst of patriarchs at p. 323 does not 
give the word ] i •^. though he repeats it in the translation 
(No. 100). In the Dissert, de Monophysitis, p. xcviii, he 
makes Michael belong to the convent near Melitene, and 
merely mentions another convent of Bar-sauma at " Sena" 
(see also the Index, p. 532). Langlois, in the preface to 
the Chronique de Michel le Grand, p. 3, thinks of a convent 
near Mardin, such as that restored by John, bishop of 
Mardin {B.O., ii. 222, 1. 19). We believe, however, that 
the convent near Melitene is meant, as John of Mardin had 
acquired a certain reputation in what Abbeloos calls the 
" ars gromatica " (Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., i. 526, note 
1), wherefore it is said that Michael sent for him {shaddar 



MICHAEL I. 251 

which we find him supplying with water, with 
the help of John, bishop of Mardin, in 1163^ 
He was elected patriarch in 1166, and held office 
till 11991 He revised the Jacobite pontifical and 
ritual, arranging its contents under forty-six heads, 
as exhibited in Cod. Vat. li.^ drew up an anaphora S 
wrote a tract setting forth the Jacobite confession 
of faith ^ a treatise against a Coptic schismatic, 
Mark the son of Konbar, on the question of 
confession®, and a poem on a case of persecution 
in 1159^ He also revised in 1185 the life of 
Abhhai, bishop of Nicsea, having found most 
copies of it in a very disordered stated His most 

hCithreh)^ and that John " returned to his diocese because 
the winter was at hand, meaning to come back in April " 
(p. 527). 

1 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 525. 

2 B.O., ii. 363-369 ; Bar-Hebr£eus, Chron. Eccles., i. 
535-605. 

3 Assemani's Catal.^ ii. 314 sq.-, B.O.^ ii. 155. 

^ Cod. Vat. XXV. 8 ; Paris, Anc. fonds 68 (Zotenberg, 
Catal.^ p. 49); Leyden, Cod. 1572 {Catal, v. 73). 

^ Bar-Hebrceus, Chron. Eccles., i. 549 ; Langlois, p. 331. 

^ Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., i. 573-575 ; B.O.,, ii. 155, 
No. iii. 

7 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 351. 

« See Brit. Mus. Add. 12174, No. 8 (Wright, Catal, 
p. 1124); Cod. Vat. xxxvii. 12 {Catal, ii. 247); B.O., ii. 
505, col. 2. But the account of the death of the emperor 
Constantius, and the lives of Jacob of Serugh and of I\Iar 
Aha, appear to be wrongly ascribed to him in Catal. Vat., 
ii. 248-249. 



252 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

important work was a Chronicle, from the creation 
to 1196 A.D., which was translated, with other 
works of his, into Armenian, and apparently exists 
in that language alone \ Some extracts from it 
were published by Dulaurier in the Journal 
Asiatique for 1848, p. 281 sq., and 1849, p. 315 
sq., and the whole has been edited in a French 
translation by V. Langlois, Chronique de Michel le 
Grand, 1868. According to him the translator of 
the first part of the work was the vartabed David, 
and it was finished by the priest Isaac, who 
completed his task in 1248, continuing it down to 
his own day. A third person engaged in trans- 
lating the works of Michael into Armenian was 
the vartabed Vartan^. Appended to the Chronicle 
is an extract from a treatise of his " On the 
Sacerdotal Order and its Origin," or " On the 
Origin of Sacerdotal Institutions," with a contin- 
uation by Isaac and Vartan^, which is followed in 
the MSS. by the Jacobite "confession of faith ^" 
Michael appears also to have written an ecclesias- 
tical history, which is entirely lost to us. At 

1 The present writer has been recently informed that a 
copy of the original Syriac exists in the library of the 
convent of az-Za'faran near Mardln. 

2 Langlois, Preface, p. 10, and note 2. 
2 Langlois, p. 363 52-. 

* Langlois, Preface, p. 8, at the top ; Bar-Hebraeus, 
Chron. Eccles.^ i. 606, note 1, 6. 



THEODORE BAR WAHBON. 253 

least Bar-Hebrseus^ speaks of his recording certain 
matters in his *' Ekklesiastike," which do not 
appear in the Chronicle. 

A thorn in the side of Michael was his disciple 
Theodore bar Wahbon. He first appears on the 
stage in 11 70-, when the emperor Manuel sent 
Theorianus to the Armenian catholicus and the 
Jacobite patriarch with letters. Michael declined 
an interview, but sent John of Kaisum to see 
Theorianus at K^al'at ar-Rum, and on his coming 
a second time to the same place selected Theodore 
bar Wahbon as his representative ^ Ten years 
afterwards, in 1180, when Michael was at Antioch, 
Ibn Wahbon was made anti-patriarch at Amid by 
certain malcontent bishops, under the name of 



1 Chron. Eccles.^ i. 589. 

2 Ibid.^ i. 549, 551, where 1172 is an error, as remarked 
by Abbeloos in note 1. John of Kaisum, who was present 
on the occasion, died in 1171 (p. 559). 

3 The disputations held on these occasions were of course 
utterly fruitless. See Leuncla\ius, Legatio Imp. Ccesaris 
Mamielis Comneni Aug. ad Armenios, sive Theonani cum 
Catholico disputatio, (Sec, 1578, and in Galanus, Conciliat- 
ionis Ecclesm Armence cum Romana . . . pars i., 1690, p. 
242 sq.f jDisp. Theoriani secunda, in Mai, Sa-iptt. Vett. 
Nova Coll., vi. pp. xxiii and 314 sq., and in Migne, 
Patrol. G?'., cxxxiii. 114 sq.; also Bar-Hebrtcas, Chron. 
Eccles., i. 549-557 ; Langlois, Chroaique, pp. 329-331 ; 
comp. Abbeloos's notes on Bar-Hebra)us, pp. 550-552, and 
B.C., ii. 364-365. 



254 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

John\ Michael, however, at once took energetic 
measures ^ got hold of the anti-patriarch, formally 
deposed him, and shut him up in the convent of 
Bar-sauma, whence he was afterwards allowed to 
make his escape by some of the monks. He fled 
to Damascus, where he tried in vain to bring his 
case before Salah ad-din, and thence to Jerusalem, 
after the fall of which city in 1187 he joined 
Gregorius Degha, the Armenian catholicus, at 
KaFat ar-E,um and went with him to Cilicia, 
where the king, Leo, made him patriarch of the 
Jacobites in his territories. He died in 1193. 
According to Bar-Hebrseus, Theodore bar Wahbon 
was a good scholar, and could speak and wTite 
three foreign languages, Greek, Armenian, and 
Arabic I He compiled an anaphora^ wrote an 
exposition of the Eucharistic service ^ and a state- 
ment of his case against Michael in Arabic*^. 

Of Nestorian writers there are scarcely any 
worth naming in this century, for the historian 
and controversialist Mare bar Shelemon, otherwise 

1 Bar-Hebreeus, Chron. Ecdes., i. 575 sq.; B.O., ii. 
213. 

2 Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Ecdes.y i. 579; B.O., ii. 214. 

3 Chron. Eccles., i. 581. 

4 See Kenaudot, ii. 409; B.O., ii. 216; Payne Smith, 
Catal., p. 241, note c. 

5 B.O., ii. 216. 

^ Bar-Hebraeus, Chiton. Eccles.^ i. 581, at the foot. 



MARi IBN SULAIMAN. 255 

Mari ibn Sulaiman, wrote in Arabic^; and Elias 

1 He flourished in the first half of this century {B.O.^ 
iii. 1, 554-555, 582). His work is extant in the Vatican 
Library in 2 vols., cviii. and cix. (Mai, Scriptt. Vett. 
Nova Coll.^ iv. 219-223), with the title Kitah al-Majdal 
or "the Tower," wrongly ascribed to 'Amr ibn Matta 
of Tirhan. The first volume, transcribed in 1401, is 
theological and dogmatical; it comprises the first four 
sections. The second volume is theological and his- 
torical. The series of patriarchs ended with " 71," 
*Abhd-isho bar Mukl of Mosul (1138-47), but is continued 
down to Yabh-alaha bar Kayoma of Mosul (1190), "qui 
nunc sedem tenet," ^.e., in 1214, when this volume was 
written. His epitomizer 'Amr ibn Matta of Tirhan lived 
in the first half of the 14th century {B.O., iii. 1, 580, 586). 
To him is ascribed Cod. Vat. ex., which " autographus esse 
videtur" (Mai, Scriptt. Vett. Nova Coll.^ iv. 224-227). It 
consists of five parts, of which the first is wanting in this 
MS., which has therefore no title. The series of catholics 
in pt. v., fundam. 2, is continued down to Yabh-alaha 
(1281-1317). In pt. v., fundam. 3, sect. 6, we find the 
confession of faith of Michael, bishop of Amid and 
Maiyafarikin {B.O.^ iii. 1, 557), translated into Arabic by 
the priest Saliba ibn Yohanna, whom G. E. Khayyath, 
archbishop of Amadia, asserts to be the real author of the 
whole work (see his Syri Orientales seu Chaldcei Nestonani 
et Romanoruin Pontificum Primatics, 1870, and comp. 
Hoffmann, Ausziige, p. 6). Cod. Vat. dclxxxvii. (Mai, op. 
cit.y V. 594) contains part of the same work as Cod. Vat. ex. 
(though the Catalog^ie calls it the Majdal, and ascribes it 
to Marl), viz., pt. v., fundam. 1 and 2 (" usque ad Ebedie- 
sum Barsaumae successorem, qui obiit die 25 novembris 
an. Christi 1147. Continuat eandem historian! Amrus 
Matthoei filius, a Jesuiabo baladensi, Ebediesu successore, 
usque ad laballahum III. Timothei secundi successorem, 



256 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

III.^ Abu Halim ibn al-Hadithi, of Maiperkat, 
metropolitan of Nisibis and catholicus from 1175 
to 1190, chiefly used the same language in his 
homilies and letters-. He is best remembered for 
having compiled and arranged the prayers in one 
of the service books, which is still called by his 
name, " the Abu ^alim^" 

Isho'-yabh bar Malkon was ordained bishop of 
Nisibis in 1190 by the catholicus Yabh-alaha II. 
(1190-1222), was present at the consecration of 

qui obiit die 31 ianuarii an. Christi 1222"!). Cod. Vat. 
dclxxxviii. is also said to contain "Historia Patriarcharum 
Chaldseoriim sive Nestorianorum," from Addai and Mari 
down to Yabh-alaha bar Kayoma, by 'Amr ibn Matta. 
"Hsec autem historia longe fusior est atque emendatior 
ilia, qiiam Mares f. Salomonis conscripsit, de qua in 
prsecedente codice"! And to add to the perplexity, 
Sachau describes his Cod. 12 (Arab.) as "Theil einer 

grossen Kirchengeschichte der Nestorianer. jSj^*^)\ jliwt 
BUcher der Geheimnisse. Alte Papierhandschrift (14 Jh.). 
Es ist das Jj^a*.»)t w>ll£3 von 'Amr b. Matta aus 
Tirhan." Possibly the MS. in the collection of the S.P.C.K. 
may give some light. 

1 B.O.^ ii. 450, iii. 1, 287 ; Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., 
ii. 367-369. 

2 B.O., iii. 1, 290. 

3 Badger, The Nestorians, ii. 23 : " The Aboo Haleem 
contains a collection of collects appointed to be read at 
the conclusion of the Nocturns of all the Sundays through- 
out the year, of the festivals, and the three days of the 
Baootha d^Ninwdye.^ before the commencement of the 
Matins." See B.O., iii. 1, 291-295. 



SIMEON SHANKELAWi. 257 

his successor Sabhr-isho' IV. (1222-25), and died 
under Sabhr-isho' V. (1226-56), his follower at 
Nisibis being Makkikha, who was afterwards 
catholicus (1257-65)^ He wrote on questions of 
grammar, besides homilies, letters, and hymns, in 
which, however, he chiefly, if not exclusively, 
employed the Arabic language 2. He is the same 
as Joseph bar Malkon, bishop of Mardin, whose 
metrical tract on the points, entitled Mesldhta 
dhe-Nukze, or "the Net of the Points," is found in 
MSS., along with the grammatical writings of 
Elias bar Shinaya and John bar Zo'bi^. This tract 
must therefore have been composed before 1190. 

Simeon Shankelabhadhi or Shankelawi, of 
Shankelabhadh or Shankelawah^ near Irbil, must 
have been a contemporary of Bar Malkon, and 
perhaps somewhat senior to him. He was the 
teacher of John bar Zo'bi, for whom he wrote a 
Chronikon or chronological treatise in the form of 

1 B.O.,m. 1, 295, note 1. 

2 Ibid., ill. 1, 295-306. 

3 E.g., Cod. Vat. cxciv. (copied from a MS. written in 
1246), and Brit. Mus. Add. 25876, f. 276 b (note the 
colophon, f. 290b, Wright, Catal, p. 1178); see B.O., iii. 
1, 308, col. 1, No. viii., and the Abb^ Martin, Be la 
Metrique chez les Syriens, 1879, p. 70 (at p. 68, 1. 14, read 

I > ^ *^ >. i> "the bishop of Nislbis"). [Compare Merx, 
Hist, artis gramm. ap. Syros, chap, viii,] 

* See Hoffmann, AuszUge, p. 231, and note 1847. 

S. L. 17 



258 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

questions and answers, explanatory of the various 
eras, the calendar, &c. There is a MS. in the 
British Museum, Add. 25875 \ and several at 
Berlin^. He was also the author of a moral poem 
in enigmatical language, of which 'Abhd-isho' 
thought it worth his while to write an explanation 
for his disciple Abraham 2. To him is likewise 
ascribed "the questions of Simon Kepha con- 
cerning the Eucharist and Baptism," which he 
appears to have introduced to the notice of his 
pupil John bar Zo'bi^ 

John bar Zo'bi flourished about the end of the 
12th and the beginning of the 13th century. He 
was a monk of Beth J^viksi (or Kuke) in Hedhai- 
yabh, and numbered among his pupils Jacob bar 
Shakko, or Severus, bishop of Mar Matthew (see 
below) ^ He wrote metrical homilies, partly in 
seven-syllable, partly in twelve-syllable verse, on 
the chief points of the Nestorian faith ^. One of 

1 Wright, CataL, p. 1067. 

2 Sachau 108, 1, 121, and 153, 1, 3. 

3 Cod. Vat. clxxxvii. (Catal, iii. 404); MS. Ind. Off'. 
No. 9, " Tracts in Syriac," f. 204. It has been published 
by Cardahi, Libe?' Thesauri^ p. 89. Cardahl calls the 
author as-Smikalabart, blindly copying Assemani's Sa7i- 
calaharensis^ and places his death in 780 (see B.O., iii. 1, 
225, note 5, p. 226, note 7 ; and Catal. Vat., iii. 405). 

4 B.O., iii. 1, 562. 

^ Bar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 409. 

6 Brit. Mus. Or. 2305 ; and apparently Berlin, Sachau 8. 



-DAVID B. PAUL. 259 

these is mentioned by Assemani, B.O., iii. 1, 309, 
note 1^; another, on the four problems of philo- 
sophy, is in Berlin, Sachau 72, 15. Bar Zo'bi is, 
however, better known as a grammarian-. The 
larger of his two grammars is based on the works 
of previous writers, such as Severus Sebokht and 
Denha, commentators on Aristotle, and the gram- 
marians Elias I., the catholicus, and Elias bar 
Shinaya, bishop of Nisibisl The smaller grammar 
is an epitome in verse, accompanied by a metrical 
tract on the four chief marks of interpunction"*. 
He seems also to have continued the treatise of 
Honain De Si/nonymis^, so that he may perhaps 
be Hoffmann's "analecta anonymusV 

As the lamp flares up before it expires, so the 
13th century witnessed a faint revival of Syriac 
literature before its extinction. 

David bar Paul is cited by Bar-Hebraeus in 

1 It has been transLated by Badger, The Nestorians^ ii. 
151-153. 

■^ B.O., iii. 1, 307 ; [Merx, op. cit^ chap. x.]. 

3 Part of this work, namely, the portion that deals 
with the marks of interpunction, has been edited and 
translated by Martin, Traite sur V Accentuation chez les 
Syriens Orientaux, 1877. 

4 MSS. of these grammars,— Cod. Vat. cxciv., ccccl. ; 
Brit. Mus. Add. 25876; Or. 2314; Berlin, Alt. Best. 36, 
16, and Sachau 216, 2, and 306, 2. 

'' Berlin, Sachau 72, 14. 
^ Opusc. jVestor., p. iv. 

17—2 



260 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

the Ausar Ra2e\ and may therefore be supposed 
to have lived early in the 13th century. He was 
evidently a man of considerable culture, and a 
versifier. We have from his pen a poem on the 
letters of the Syriac alphabet-, a note on the 
mutable letters^, and a brief enumeration of the 
categories of Aristotle^ a moral poem in twelve- 
syllable verse ^, another on repentance in an Arabic 
translation ^ and specimens of a third in Cardahi's 
Liber Thesauri, p. 138. Theological are a dialogue 
between a Malkite and a Jacobite on the hymn 
Trisagion'' and a tract in Arabic on matters in 
dispute between the Jacobites and Malkites^ 

Jacob bar Shakko (Shakkako ?)^ or 'Isa, bar 
Mark, of Bartellai or Bartulla, near Mosul, was a 
monk of the famous convent of Mar Matthew, of 

1 B.O., ii. 243. 

2 Cod. Vat. ccxvii. {Catal., iii. 505) ; Paris, Anc. fonds 
118 (Zotenberg, Catal., p. 166), 157 (ibid., p. 147). 

3 Paris, Anc. fonds 164 (Zotenberg, Catal., p. 213). 

4 Berlin, Alt. Best. 36, 13. 

5 Cod. Vat. xcvi. (Catal, ii. 522). 

6 Cod. Vat. Iviii. {Catal, ii. 351). 

'' Cod. Vat. cxlvi. (Catal, iii. 268), ccviii. (Catal, iii. 
498); Paris, Anc. fonds 134 A (Zotenberg, Catal, p. 154), 
with an Arabic translation. 

8 Bodl. Hunt. 199 (P. Smith, Catal, p. 449), Poc. 79 
(lb., p. 459). 

s Written 0O'^.» and CmiL*. 



JACOB OR 8EVERUS B. SHAKKO. 261 

which he afterwards became bishop by the name 
of Severus\ He was trained in grammar by John 
bar Zo'bi (see above) in the convent of Beth Kuka 
(or Kuke) in Hedhaiyabh^ and in dialectics and 
philosophy by Kamal ad-Din Miisa ibn Yunus at 
Mosul ^ He composed one of his works, the Book 
of Treasures, in 1231 and died in 1241 ^ on his 
way to visit the aged patriarch Ignatius II. 
(maphrian 1215-22, patriarch 1222-53). He 
possessed a great many books, which were all 
conveyed to the demosion^ of the ruler of Mosul. 

1 Bcar-Hebrseus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 409 (a contemporary). 
In Cod. Vat. ccccxi. (Mai, Scriptt. Vett. ^Voy« Coll., v.) he 
bears the name of Jacob bar Talia, a corruption of Bartel- 
laya. In MS. Berlin, Alt. Best. 38, 1 (if the Catal. be 
correct), he is called "metropolitan of the convent of 
St Matthew near Arbela," confusing Mar Matthew at 
Mosul with Beth Kuka, where he was trained. Assemani 
and others have identified him with Jacob, bishop of 
Maiperkat (MSdhlnath Sahde). With Taghrith he never 
had anything to do. 

^ Hoffmann, Ausziige, p. 215, note 1715. 

3 Born 1156, died 1224; Bar-Hebrceus, Ckroii. Eccles., 
ii. 411; Wiistenfeld, Gesch. d. arah. Aerzte, No. 229; Ibn 
Khallikan, ed. Wiistenfeld, No. 757 ; Ibn Abl Usaibi'ah, ed. 
Miiller, i. 306. 

* Assemani {B.O., ii. 455) is mistaken; see also pp. 237 
and 477. 

5 According to Abbeloos, Bar-Hebrreus, Chron. Eccles., 
ii. 412, "in ?erarium publicum principis Mossulaj assumpti 
fuerunt." We suspect that the Christian bishop's library 
went to light the fires of the public bath. 



262 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

His works are as follows. (1) The Book of 
Treasuries, a theological treatise in four parts, viz., 
part i., of the three-one God ; part ii., of the 
Incarnation of the Son of God ; part iii., of the 
Divine Providence ; part iv., of the creation of the 
universe, the angels, the different kinds of life, the 
soul of man, the resurrection, and the last judge- 
ments (2) The Dialogues, in two books. Book i., 
dial. 1, on grammar, followed by a discourse on 
the same in twelve-syllable metre ; dial. 2, on 
rhetoric ; dial. 3, on the art of poetry or metres ; 
dial. 4, on the eloquence and copiousness of the 
Syriac language. Book ii., dial. 1, on logic and 
the syllogism ; dial. 2, on philosophy, its kinds, 
divisions, and subdivisions, in five sections, viz., 
(a) on the definitions of philosophy, its divisions, 
&c. ; (b) on the philosophic life and conduct ; (c) on 
physics or physiology ; (d) on the four disciplines, 
— arithmetic, music, geometry, and mathematics : 
(e) on metaphysics and theology I Of his letters 

1 Cod. Vat. clix. {CataL, iii. 307); Brit. Mus. Add. 
7193 (Rosen, Catal., p. 84); and in the collection of the 
S.P.C.K. An extract in Cod. Vat. ccccxi. (Mai, Scriptt. 
Vett. Mva Coll, v.) ; see B.O., ii. 237-240. 

2 Brit. Mus. Add. 21454 (Wright, Catal, p. 1165); 
Gottingen, Cod. Orient. 18c; Bodl. Marsh. 528 (apparently 
imperfect, P. Smith, Catal, p. 642). Excerpts in Berlin, 
Alt. Best. 38, 1. Book i., dial. 3, has been edited by 
Martin, "De la Metrique chez les Syriens," in Ahhand- 



AARON BAR MA'dANI. 263 

two are extant, in verse, addressed to Fakhr 
ad-Daulah Mark bar Thomas and his brother Taj 
ad-Daulah Abu Tahir Sa'id^ He also wrote a 
confession of faith regarding the Trinity and the 
Incarnation, which he himself cites in the Book of 
Treasures, part ii., chap. 14, and an exposition of 
the services and prayers of the church, which is 
referred to in the same work, part, ii., chap. 31 
(on the addition of the words " who was crucified 
for us" to the Trisagion)^ Under the name of 
Jacob of Maiperkat we have an admonition 
addressed to persons seeking ordination as priests, 
which is found in many service books =^. 

Aaron bar Ma'dani (or Ma'dani ?) had been 
recently appointed bishop of Mardin, under the 
name of John, when he was promoted by the 
patriarch Ignatius II. to the dignity of maphrian 
in 1232^ His bodily presence seems to have been 

limgen fur d. Kunde d. Morgenlandes, Bd. vii., No. 2, 1879; 
[and dial. 1 of the same book, with extracts from the 
metrical discourse that follows it, by Merx in the appendix 
to his Hist, artis gramm. ap. Syros (see also chap. xi.)]. 

1 Brit. Mus. Add. 7193 (Rosen, Catal, p. 84); see 
Bar-Hebra3us, Chron. Eccles., ii. 407, where the third 
brother Shams ad-Daulah is also mentioned. 

2 D.O., ii. 240. 

3 E.g., Cod. Vat. \\. 9 {Catal, i. 318); ccciv. (Mai, 
Scriptt. Vett. Nova Coll., v.) ; Paris, Suppl. 22, 23, 38, 94 
(the last in Arabic), see Zotenberg, Catal., pp. 68, 72, 76 ; 
comp. B.O., ii. 241. ^ B.O., ii. 454. 



264 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

somewhat insignificant, and he was no orator, for 
which reasons he was unpopular ^ In 1237 he 
went to Baghdadh, where in the following year he 
composed his panegyric on the holy Mar Aaron, 
and ingratiated himself with the three brothers 
Shams ad-Daulah, Fakhr ad-Daulah, and Taj 
ad-Daulah, the sons of the archiater Thomas, who 
were in high favour at the court of al-Mustansir 
bi'llah. He learned to speak and write Arabic 
thoroughly 2. In 1244 he was recalled to Mosul 
and received with every mark of respects On 
the death of Ignatius in 1252, Dionysius (Aaron 
'Angur) was created patriarchy but a rival faction 
set up John bar Ma danP; and so the two ruled in 
a divided church till Dionysius was murdered in 
the convent of Bar-sauma near Melitene in 1261 ^ 
after which time his rival sat alone till 1263^. 
John bar Ma'dani compiled an anaphora^ and 
wrote a great many poems, of which Bodl. Hunt. 1 
contains no less than 601 Some of the more 

1 Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles.^ ii. 407. 

2 Ihid., ii. 411. 3 75^-^.^ ii. 413. 

4 Ihid., i. 697, 701; B.O., ii. 376. 

5 Bar-Hebr«us, Chron. Eccles., i. 707; B.O.^ ii. 377. 
^ Bar-HebraeuSj Chron. Eccles., i. 737. 

7 Ihid., i. 743. 
^ See Renaudot, ii. 512. 

9 See Payne Smith, Catal, pp. 379-382, and MS. 
Berlin, Sachaii 207, 3. 



BAR-HEBR^US. 265 

important of these are the poem on the soul, 
entitled "the Bird" (Parahethciy, on the high 
origin of the soul and its degradation by sin 2, on 
the excellent path of the perfect ^ and on the 
capture of Edessa and other places by the Seljuk 
sultan 'Ala'u 'd-din Kaikobadh in 12351 Of his 
homilies Cod. Vat. xcvii. contains eighteen for 
various feasts in Arabic ^ 

These writers are, however, all cast into the 
shade by the imposing figure of Bar-Hebrseus, as 
we are accustomed to call him, one of the most 
learned and versatile men that Syria ever pro- 
duced^. Abu '1-Faraj Gregory^ was the child of a 
physician at Melitene (Malatiah) named Aaron, 
a convert from Judaism or of Jewish descent, 

1 Bodl. Hunt. 1; Poc. 298 (P. Smith, Catal, p. 641); 
Cod. Vat. cciv. {CataL, iii. 489) ; Berlin, Sachau 61, 8. 

2 Bodl. Hunt. 1 ; Cod. Vat. cciv. 

3 Bodl. Hunt. 1 ; Poc. 298 ; Vat. cciv. Edited in part 
by Cardahi in the Liber Thesauri, pp. 66-68. 

^ Hunt. 1. Palat. Medic. Ixii. contains two poems on 
the love of God and the love of wisdom {CataL, p. 108). 

^ Catal., ii. 523. There is one, also in Arabic, on 
repentance and death in Cod. Vat. ccxx. {CataL, iii. 508). 

'^ B.O., ii. 244 sq. See Gibbon's eulogy of him, Decline 
and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. Smith, 1855, vol. vi., 
p. 55. 

7 His baptismal name was John, as appears from the 
inscription on his tombstone; Badger, The Xestorians, 
i. 97. Gregory he probably adopted when he became a 
bishop. 



266 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

whence his son got the name of Bar 'Ebhraya or 
Ibn al-'Ibri, " the son of the Hebrew." He was 
born in 1226 S and devoted himself from his boy- 
hood to the acquisition of Greek and Arabic. A 
little later he applied himself also to theology and 
philosophy, besides practising medicine under his 
father and other distinguished physicians. His 
lot was cast, however, in evil days. In 1243 
many of the inhabitants of Malatiah fled to Alepj^o 
before the advancing hordes of Hulagu and his 
Tatars, and his father would have been among 
the fugitives, had it not been for a lucky accident^ 
In the following year his father had actually to 
attend as physician upon one of the Tatar generals, 
whom he accompanied to Khartabirt, and on his 
return retired almost immediately from Malatiah 
to the safer city of Antioch^ Here Bar-Hebra^us 
completed his studies and commenced his monastic 
life^ Thence he went to Tripolis, where he and 
Salibha bar Jacob Wagih, of Edessa, were study- 

1 B.O., ii. 263. 

2 Ihid., ii. 244 ; Bar-Hebraeus, Hist. Dynast.., p. 481 
(transl, p. 315) ; Chron. Syr., p. 503 (transl., p. 521), [ed. 
Bedjan, p. 4V7]. 

3 B.O., ii. 245 ; Bar-Hebreeus, Hist. Dynast., pp. 486- 
487 (transl., pp. 318-319) ; Chron. Syr., 504-505 (transl, 
p. 522), [ed. Bedjan, p. 478]. 

* See the poem No. 29 in Cod. Vat. clxxiv. {Catal., iii. 
356). 



BAR-HEBRiEUS. 267 

ing medicine and rhetoric with a Nestorian teacher 
named Jacob, when they were summoned before 
the patriarch Ignatius II., on 14th September 
1246, and ordained bishops, the former of Gubos 
(Gubas) near Malatiah, the latter of 'Akk5\ Bar- 
Hebraeus was then just twenty years of age. In 
the following year he was transferred to Lakabhin, 
another diocese adjacent to Malatiah^, by the 
patriarch Ignatius I After the death of Ignatius, 
Bar-Hebraeus took the part of Dionysius (Aaron 
'Angur) against John bar Ma'dani, and was trans- 
ferred by him in 1253 to Aleppo'*, but quickly 
deposed by his old friend Salibha (who sided with 
John bar Ma'dani)^ ; nor did he recover this see 
till 1258^. The next patriarch, Ignatius III. 
(Yeshii'), abbot of Gevikath near Mopsuestia^ 
advanced him to the dignity of maphrian in 1264®. 

1 Bcar-Hebroous, Chron. Eccles., i. 667 ; B.O., ii. 245, 374. 
From 'Akko Salibha was transferred to Aleppo, under the 
name of Basil {B.O., ii. 375), and promoted in December 
1252 by the patriarch John bar Ma'danI to be maphrian, 
under the name of Ignatius (5.O., ii. 377, 455). He died 
in 1258. 

2 B.O., ii. 260. 

3 Ibid., ii. 246 ; Bar-HebrcGus, Chron. Eccles., i. 685. 

4 B.O., ii. 246 ; Bar-Hebrceus, Chron. Eccles., i. 721. 

5 Ibid., i. 721. 6 Ibid., i. 727. 
7 He sat from 1264 to 1282. 

s B.O., ii. 246 ; Bar-Hebra)us, Chron. Eccles., i. 740, 
ii. 433. 



268 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Henceforth his life was an active and busy one, 
and it seems almost marvellous that he should 
have studied and written so much, while in no 
way neglectful of the vast diocese committed to 
his charge. The story is told by himself in simple 
language in his Ecclesiastical Histori/\ with a 
continuation by his surviving brother Bar-sauma 
Safi, giving a nearly complete list of his works 2. 
He died at Maraghah in Adhurbaigan on 30th 
July 1286, and the greatest respect was shown to 
his memory by Greeks, Armenians, and Nestorians 
alike, the shops being closed and no business 
transacted ^ His body was conveyed to the 
convent of Mar Matthew at Mosul ^ where his 
grave was seen by Badger in October 18431 
Bar^Hebrseus cultivated nearly every branch of 
science that was in vogue in his time, his object 
being on the one hand to reinvigorate and keep 
alive the Syriac language and literature, and on 
the other to make available to his co-religionists 

1 Bar-Hebraeus, Chro7i. Eccles., ii. 431-467 ; B.O., ii. 
248-263. 

2 Bar-Hebrseus, Cht^on. Eccles., ii. 467-485 ; B.O., ii. 
264-274. Two brothers died before him, Michael and 
MuwafFak. See the poems Nos. 166 and 170 in Cod. Vat. 
clxxiv. {Catal., iii. 358). 

3 B.O., ii. 266 ; Chro7i. Eccles., ii. 473. 

4 B.O., ii. 460. 

5 j^he ^r^storians, i. 97. For "1536" read 1537, and for 
*' August " July. 



BAR-HEBR^US. 269 

the learning of the Muhammadans in a suitable 
form. Hence his treatment of the Aristotelian 
philosophy, following in the footsteps of Ibn Sina 
(Avicenna) and other Arabian writers \ The Ke- 
thdhha dhe-Bhdbhathd, or " Book of the Pupils of 
the Eyes," is a compendium of the art of logic 
or dialectics, comprising an introduction on the 
utility of logic and seven chapters in which the 
author deals successively with the Isagoge of 
Porphyry, the Categories, De Interpretatione, An- 
alytica Prior a, Tojnca, Analytica Posterior a, and 
De Sophisticis Elenchis'-. In connexion with it 
we take the Kethdbhd dha-Seiuddh Sojjhia or 
" Book of the Speech of Wisdom," a compendium 
of dialectics, physics, and metaphysics or theology ^ 
The large encyclopsedia entitled Heiuath Hekk- 
meiJid, " Butyrum Sapientise," or less correctly 
Hekhmath Hekhmdthd, "Sapientia Sapientiarum," 
comprises the whole Aristotelian discipline. The 
first volume contains the Logic, viz., the Isagoge, 

1 Compare Renan, De Philos. Peripat. apiidSyros (1852), 
p. 65 sq. 

2 Brit. Mus. Or. 1017; Paris, Aiic. foods 138 ; Berlin, 
Alt. Best. 38, 2, 39; Sachau 140, 2, and 198, 8 ; Cambridge, 
collection of the S.P.C.K. 

3 Brit. Mus. Or. 1017 ; Paris, Anc. fonds 138 (Syr. and 
Arab.); Berlin, Alt. Best. 38, 4; Sachau 91 (Sjr. and 
Arab.), also 140, 1, and 198, 9 ; Cambridge, coll. of the 
S.P.C.K. 



270 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

Categories, De Interpret, Anal. Pri. and Poster., 
Dialectica, De Sophist. Elenchis, Rhetoric, and Art 
of Poetry. The second comprises the Physics, viz., 
De Auscult. Physica, De Gcelo et Mundo, De Mete- 
oris, De Generatione et Corruptione, De Fossilihus, 
De Plantis, De Animalihus and De Anima. The 
third, in its first section, treats of the Metaphysics, 
viz., of the origin and writers of philosophy, and 
of theology ; in its second section, of ethics, eco- 
nomics, and politics \ An abridgement of this 
large work is the Tegerath Tegerdtha or " Merca- 
tura Mercaturarum," which goes over the same 
ground in briefer terms 2. To this class too belongs 
a poem " On the Soul, according to the views of 
the Peripatetics," which is described as " memra 
shinaya," i.e., according to Assemani, riming in the 
letter sh^. Bar-Hebrseus also translated into 
Syriac Ibn Sina's Kitdh al-ishdrdt wa ^t-tanhihdt^, 
under the title of Kethdbha dhe-Remze wa-Me- 



1 Palat. Medic, clxxxvi.-vii., clxxvi.-ix. ( = clxxxvi. ; see 
Renan, Be Philos. Peripat. apud Syros, p. 66) ; Bodl. Hunt. 
1 (imperf.) ; compare also Palat. Medic, clxxxiii.-iv. and 
Ixii. (p. 109). 

2 Palat. Medic, cc. ; Berlin, Sachau 211; Cambridge, 
coll. of the S.P.C.K. 

3 B.O., ii. 268, in the note, col. 2, No. 28. 

■* Theoremata et Ejceixitationes, a course of logic, 
physics, and metaphysics ; see Wlistenfeld, Geschichte d. 
arab. Aerzte, p. 73, No. 61 ; B.O., ii. 270, note 2. 



BAR-HEBRiEUS. 271 

'irdnwdtJid^, and another work of the same class, 
entitled Zuhdat al-Asrdr or "the Cream of Secrets," 
by his elder contemporary, Athir ad-din Mufaddal 
ibn 'Omar al-Abhari (died in 1262)2. Nor did he 
neglect the study of mathematics and astronomy. 
In 1268 we find him lecturing on Euclid in the 
new convent at Maraghah, and again in 1272, at 
the same place, on the Megiste ('H fieydXr) 
(TvvTa^Ls:) of Ptolemy ^ He drew up a z%j, i.e., a 
set of astronomical tables or astronomical almanac, 
for the use of tiros'*; but his principal work in 
this branch of science is the SuUdkd Haundndyd 
or " Ascent of the Mind," a complete treatise on 
astronomy and cosmography, which he composed 
in 1279^ His medical writings are more numer- 
ous, for Bar-Hebrseus was famous as a physician*' 
and had been in attendance as such on the Tatar 

1 Cod. Vat. cxci. ; Palat. Medic, clxxxv. (Arab, and 
Syr.); Paris, Anc. fonds 163. 

2 See Hist. Dynast, p. 485 (transl., p. 318). 

3 B.O., ii. 253; Chron. Ecdes., ii. 443. 

* B.O., ii. 307 ; but the calendar there indicated is of 
later date. 

5 Bodl. Hunt. 540 ; Paris, Anc. fonds 162. On the date 
see Payne Smith, CataL, p. 584. [Chap. i. of the 2nd part, 
"a short treatise on Chartography and Geography," has 
been edited and translated into English by Gottheil in 
Mittheilungen des Akademisch-Orientalischen Vereins zu 
Berlin, No. 3 (1890).] 

^ Wiistenfeld, Gesch. d. arah. Aerzte, No. 240. 



272 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

"king of kings" in 1263^ He made, for example, 
a translation and an abridgement of Dioscorides's 
treatise Tlepl uX?;? larpiKyj^i (De Medicamentis 
Simplicibus), under the title of Kethdhhd dh^- 
Dhioshorldhls^, and wrote a commentary on the 
Aphorisms of Hippocrates in Arabic', and on the 
QucBstiones Mediae of Honain ibn Ishak in Syriac^ 
He also published the Qiicestiones in an abridged 
Syriac translation ^ Further, he is said to have 
written commentaries in Arabic on Galen's treatises 
De Elementis {Tlepl roov /cad' 'iTrTro/cpdrrjv arot- 
X^'^^'^) ^^^ I^^ Temper amentis {Ilepl Kpaaecovy. 
He made an abridged version in Arabic of al- 
Ghafiki's' "Book of Simples" {al-adwiyah al- 
mufradahy, and left an unfinished Syriac trans- 
lation of the Canon (al-Kclnun fi 't-Tibh) of Ibn 
Sina^. A large medical treatise of his own com- 

1 Chron. Eccles., i. 747. 

2 B.O., ii. 268, in the note, col. 1, No. 13, and p. 270. 

3 Ihid.^ ii. 268, col. 1, No. 15, and p. 270. 

^ Apparently unfinished, for Bar-sauma is careful to 
add "as far as ThiriaU,'^ B.O.^ ii. 272, No. 28; see also 
p. 268, in the note, col. 2, No. 25. 

5 B.O., ii. 270, No. 16. 

•5 Wenrich, De Auctorum Grcec. Verss. et Commentt. 
Syriacis, &c., 1842, pp. 242-243, 270 ; Wiistenfeld, Gesch. 
d. arah. Aerzte, No. 240. 

7 Wiistenfeld, op. cit., No. 176 ; Ibn Abi Usaibi'ah, ed. 
MUller, ii. 52. 

8 B.O., ii. 270, No. 14 ; 268, note, col. 1, No. 14. 

9 Ibid., ii. 272, No. 24 ; 268, note, col. 2, No. 22. 



BAR-HEBR^US. 273 

position in Syriac is mentioned, but no special 
title is given \ As a grammarian Bar-Hebrseus 
deserved well of his country, and his writings on 
this subject are now well known and appreciated 
by Orientalists. By making use of the work of 
previous grammarians, especially Jacob of Edessa, 
he has succeeded in giving a very full sketch of 
the language according to the Oriental system, 
with many valuable observations as to dialectic 
differences, &c. The larger grammar bears the 
title of Kethdhhd dhe-Semhe, "the Book of Lights" 
or " Rays^" It has been published, according to 
the Paris MS. Ancien fonds 166, by the Abb^ 
Martini The smaller metrical grammar, KetJidhhd 
dhe-Gh7'ammatiki'^,w3iS edited so long ago as 1843 
by Professor Bertheau of Gottingen, according to 

1 ^.0., ii. 272, No. 26. 

2 Ibid., ii. 307. 

3 (Euvres Grammaticales d^Ahoii 'Z Faradj, dit Bar 
Hehreus, vol. i., 1872. The chapter on the signs of inter- 
pimction, &c., was edited by Dr Phillips in 1869, in A 
Letter hy Mar Jacob, Bishop of Edessa, on Syriac Ortho- 
graphy. [An exhaustive account of the book is given by 
Merx in his Hist, artis gramm. ap. Syros, chap, xii.] MSS. 
of this work are — Cod. Vat. ccccxvi., ccccxxii. ; Bodl. Hunt. 
1, Pocock 298 ; Paris, Anc. fonds 166 ; Brit. Mus. Add. 
7201; Palat. Medic, cxxii.; Gottingen, Or. 18 b; Berlin, 
Alt. Best. 43, Sachau 307, 308; Cambridge, coll. of the 
S.P.C.K. 

4 B.O., ii. 308. • 

S. L. 18 



274 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

the MS. Orient. 18 in the library of that uni- 
versity, but without the fifth section De Vocibus 
j^Equivocis. Martin has republished it in his 
(Eufvres Grammaticales cVAhou 7 Faradj, vol. ii., 
including the fifth section, according to the Paris 
MS. Ancien fonds 167 \ A third, still smaller 
grammar, Kethabha dha-BhelesusUhd or "the Book 
of the Spark," was left unfinished by the author^. 
As a theologian, Bar-Hebrseus's most useful work 
undeniably is the Ausar Raze or " Storehouse of 
Secrets," the Horreum Mysteriorum as it is com- 
monly called ^ This is a critical and doctrinal 
commentary on the text of the Scriptures of the 
Old and New Testaments, based on the Peshitta, 
but taking note of the various readings of the 
Hebrew text, the LXX. and other Greek versions, 
the later Syriac translations, and even the Ar- 
menian and Coptic, besides noting differences of 
reading between the Nestorians and Jacobites. 
The doctrinal portion is drawn from the Greek 
fathers and previous Syrian theologians, of course of 
the Monophysite school^. The Menarath Kudhshe, 

1 Of this work there are many MSS. in Europe, dif- 
fering from one another in the quantity of the scholia and 
the retention or omission of section 5. 

2 B.O., ii. 272, No. 27. ^ j^i^l., ii. 277. 

^ Portions of this work have been edited at various 
times, but a complete edition is still unachieved. Larsow 
made a very small beginning in 1858. See the list in 



BAR-HEBR^US. 275 

or " Lamp of the Sanctuary," is a treatise on the 
"bases" or first principles on which the church 
is established \ It deals in twelve "bases" with 
the following subjects: — (1) of knowledge in 
general, (2) of the nature of the universe, (3) of 
theology, (4) of the incarnation, (5) of the know- 
ledge of celestial substances, i.e., the angels, (6) of 
the earthly priesthood, (7) of the evil spirits, (8) 

Nestle's Brevis Linguae Syr. Gram^natica, 1881, pp. 31-32. 
[There have since appeared editions of the notes on Pro- 
verbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles and Wisdom, by Rahlfs 
(Leipzig, 1887) ; on Ruth, and the apocryphal additions 
to Daniel, by Heppner (Halle, 1888); on the Pauline 
epistles, by Loehr (Gottingen, 1889); on Daniel, by Frei- 
mann (Brlinn, 1892) ; on Ecclesiasticus, by Kaatz (Frank- 
furt, 1892) ; and on Joshua and Judges, by Kraus (Kirch- 
hain, 1894).] MSS. of this work — Cod. Vat. clxx., cclxxxii. ; 
Palat. Medic, xxvi. ; Bodl. Hunt. 1 ; Brit. Mus. Add. 7186, 
21580, 23596; Berlin, Alt. Best. 11, Sachau 134 ; Gotting- 
en, Orient. 18 a; Cambridge, coll. of the S.P.C.K. 

1 B.O., ii. 284. MSS.— Cod. Vat. clxviii. ; Paris, Anc. 
fonds 121 ; Cambridge, coll. of the S.P.C.K. This work 
has been translated into Arabic — Paris, Anc. fonds 128; 
Brit. Mus. 18296; Bodl. Hunt. 48; Berlin, Sachau 81; 
Cambridge, coll. of the S.P.C.K. Mr R. J. H. Gottheil 
has recently lithographed, " for private circulation only," a 
small portion of this work, viz., basis ii., ch. iii. sect. 3, 
paragr. 6, on plants (26 pp. of text, 8 })p. of preface) ; the 
title is A list of Plants and their Properties from the 
M^nCirat^'' KudHe of Gregorius bar 'EU^rdyd edited by 
Richard J. H. Gottheil, B.A. [Another extract, on geo- 
graphy, has been edited and translated by Gottheil in 
Hebraica, vol. vii., p. 39 sq.] 

18—2 



276 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

of the rational soul, (9) of free will and liberty, 
fate and destiny, (10) of the resurrection, (11) of 
the end of the world and the last judgement, (12) 
of paradise. The Kethabhd dhe-Zalge, or ''Book of 
Rays," is a compendium of theology, going over 
nearly the same ground as the previous work, in 
ten sections \ The Kethablid dJiIthikon, or Liber 
Twv rjdiKcov, was composed at Maraghah in 1279. 
It has been fully analysed by Assemani in the 
B.O., ii. 303 sq. Part i. treats of the exercises 
of the body and mind, such as prayer, manual 
work, study, vigils, fasting, &c. ; part ii., of the 
regimen of the body; part iii., of the purifying 
of the soul from evil passions ; part iv., of the 
adorning of the soul with virtues 2. The Kethabha 
dhe- Yauna, or " Book of the Dove," is a similar 
work specially intended for the use of ascetics 
living in solitude as hermits. It is also divided 
into four parts, viz., (1) of the training of the 
body, e.g., in alienation from the world, repentance, 

1 B.O., ii. 297. MSS.— Cod. Vat. clxix.; Bodl. Or. 467, 
Hunt. 521; Paris, Anc. fonds 129, Suppl. 59; Brit. Mus. 
Or. 1017 ; Berlin, Sachau 85 ; Cambridge, coll. of the 
S.P.C.K. [A geographical extract has been edited and 
translated by Gottheil, loc. cit.] 

2 MSS.— Cod. Vat. clxxi. ; Bodl. Marsh. 681, Hunt. 
490 ; Brit. Mus. Add. 7194, 7195 ; Paris, Anc. fonds 122, 
Suppl. 75. There are two Arabic translations of this 
work ; see Zotenberg, Catal, p. 201, No. 247. 



BAR-HEBR.EUS. 277 

poverty, humility, patience, fraternal love, &c. ; 

(2) of the training of the soul, e.g., in quiet, 
religious exercises, prayer, watching, fasting, &c. ; 

(3) of the spiritual rest of the perfect ; and (4) an 
autobiographical sketch of his own spiritual life^ 
Bar-Hebrseus also spent part of his time in ex- 
cerpting, arranging, and commenting upon the 
Book of Hierotheus concernmg the hidden Mysteries 
of the House of God-, In the commentary he 
chiefly follows that of Theodosius, patriarch of 
Antioch (see above, p. 206)1 He compiled an 
anaphora^ published a confession of faith or creed^ 
and approved the order of baptism of Severus, as 
translated by Jacob of Edessa^. More valuable 
than these is his Kethabhd dhe-Huddaye, "the 
Book of Directions " or " Nomocanon," which is 



1 Bodl. Hunt. 1 ; Cambridge, coll. of the S.P.C.K. 
There is an Arabic translation, Paris, Anc. fonds 126, 
145 (flf. 292-299). 

2 Probably a production of Stephen bar Sudh-aile ; see 
Brit. Mus. Add. 7189, where we have the commentary of 
Theodosius, patriarch of Antioch, and compare Frothing- 
ham, Stephen bar Sudaili, p. 87 5^'. See also above, p. 76 sq. 

3 Brit. Mus. Or. 1017. Other MSS.— Paris, Anc. fonds 
138 ; Berlin, Sachau 206. The work seems to have been 
translated into Arabic (see Zotenberg, CataL, p. 176). 

4 B.O.y ii. 275. 

5 Ibid., ii. 276 ; Cod. Vat. clxxiii. 

<5 See Cod. Vat. lii. ; Paris, Anc. fonds 97 ; Medic. 
Palat. xliv. 



278 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

for the Jacobite Church what the Kunnasha dhe- 
Kanone of 'Abhd-isbo' is for the Nestorian, both 
in ecclesiastical and secular matters \ To us 
Europeans the historical writings of Bar-Hebrseus 
surpass in interest and value everything else that 
he has written. He planned and executed a 
Universal History in three parts ^. Part i. contains 
the political History of the World from the crea- 
tion down to his own times ^. Part ii. is the 
history of the church from Aaron downwards, the 
treatment being exceedingly brief till we reach 
the post-apostolic period, when it becomes a history 
of the patriarchs of the church of Antioch, and 
finally, after the age of Severn s, of the patriarchs 
of the Monophysite branch of that church down 
to the year 1285. The meagre continuation by a 
later hand reaches to 1495. Part iii. offers us the 
history of the Eastern division of the Syrian 

1 B.O., ii. 299. Rendered into Latin by J. A. Assemani 
in Mai, Seriptt. Vett. Nova Coll., x. MSS.— Cod. Vat. 
cxxxii., ccclvi.-vii., ccclviii.-ix. ; BodL Hunt. 1 ; Paris, 
Anc. fonds 140 ; Berlin, Alt. Best. 40 ; Palat. Medic. Ixi. 
It has been translated into Arabic. 

2 B.O., ii. 31L 

3 This has been edited under the title of Bar-Hehrcei 
Chronicon Syriacum by Bruns and Kirsch, with a Latin 
translation, in two volumes, 1789. Both text and transla- 
tion are equally bad, and the work deserves a new edition. 
[There is now a better edition (by Bedjan), which appeared 
at Paris in 1890.] 



BAR-HEBR^US. 279 

Church from St Thomas the apostle onwards. 
From the time of Marutha (629) it becomes the 
history of the Monophysite maphrians of Taghrith, 
though a record is always carefully kept of the 
catholic patriarchs of the Nestorians. It closes 
with the year 1286, but there is a continuation 
by Bar-Hebraeus's brother Bar-sauma to 1288, 
and thence by another writer to 1496 ^ In the 
last years of his life, at the request of some 
Muslim friends in Maraghah, he undertook to 
make a recension in Arabic of the political history, 
which he all but finished within the space of one 
month before his last illness came on 2. This 
edition is enriched with many references to Mu- 
hammadan writers and literature which are want- 

1 Parts ii. and iii., which supplied Assemani with the 
greatest part of the materials for the second volume of his 
Bihl. Orientalis, have been edited by Abbeloos and Lamy 
in three volumes, viz., part ii. in two volumes, 1872-74, 
and part iii. in one volume, 1877, accompanied by a Latin 
translation and notes. It might be advantageously re- 
printed, if revised by a competent hand. MSS. of the 
entire history are — Cod. Vat. clxvi., ccclxxxiii.-viii. ; Bodl. 
Hunt. 1 ; Palat. Medic, cxviii. Part i. is contained in 
Cod. Vat. clxvii. and Bodl. Hunt. 52 ; parts ii. and iii. in 
Brit. Mus. Add. 7198 and Cambridge Dd. 3, 8, 1, as also in 
the coll. of the S.P.C.K. Whether the Berlin MS., Sachau 
210, contains the entire work or only a part of it we do 
not know; it is simply described as "Chronik des Bar 
Hebrpeus." There are excerpts in Cod. Vat. clxxiii. 

2 B.O., ii. 264. 



280 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

ing in the Syriac. It is entitled al-Mukhtasar fi 
'd-Dmual, or " Compendious History of the Dyn- 
asties ^" As a poet Bar-Hebrseus is admired 
by his countrymen, and even Renan has thought 
the poem on the theme Bona Lex sed Melior 
Philosophia to be worthy of publication^. Some 
of the poems were badly edited and translated by 
Von Lengerke in 1836-38 according to the Paris 
MS. Ancien fonds 130; others have been published 

by the Maronite priest Augustinus Scebabi(^CiJt) 

at Rome, 1877. The Carmen de Divina Sapientia 
was brought out so long ago as 1638 by Gabriel 
Sionita, and has been published at Rome in 1880 by 

Yohanna Notayn Darauni (j^J^^jJ*'^' Ot^ ^•^»->j)^ 
In his youth Bar-Hebrseus wrote a book on the 
interpretation of dreams, pushshak helme'^ ; and in 
his later years he made a collection of entertaining 
and humorous stories in Syriac, entitled Kethabha 
dhe-Thunnaye Meghahhekh'dne, with an Arabic 

1 Edited by Pocock, with a Latin translation, in 1663. 
MSS.— Cod. Vat. clxvii. ; Brit. Mus. Add. 6944, 6952, 1, 
23304-5 ; Bodl. Pocock 54, 162 ; Palat. Medic, cxvii. 

2 De Philos. Peripat. ap. Syros, p. 67. 

3 B.O., ii. 308. MSS.— Cod. Vat. clxxiv.; Bodl. Hunt. 
1, Marsh. 201; Paris, Anc. fonds 118, 130, 157; Palat. 
Medic. Ixii. {Catal., p. 110); see also Cod. Vat. ccccxxii. ; 
Bodl. Poc. 298; Berlin, Alt. Best. 41, 2, 3, and Sachau 
61, 4-6. 

4 B.O., ii. 271, No. 20. 



DAXIEL BAR KHATTAB. 281 

counterpart under the title of Daf al-Hamm 

(W< ^h), "the Driving away of Care^" The 
contents of the Tunnaye are, however, more varied 
than the title seems to promise, as may be seen 
from Assemani's enumeration of the chapters, 
B,0., ii. 306-. 

Contemporary with Bar-Hebrse us, though some- 
what younger, we may place Daniel bar Khattab, 
to whom Assemani has devoted two articles in the 
B.O.y ii., at pp. 244 and 463. Among the poems 
of Bar-Hebrseus we find verses addressed to this 
Daniel by the Nestorian Khamis bar Kardahe 
with his reply and another by Bar-Hebrseus^. 
He composed abridgements in Arabic of several 
of Bar-Hebraeus's works, e.g., the Nomocanon^, 
Ethics, Ausar Raze, Menclrath Kudhshe, Kethdhhd 

1 B.O., ii. 268, note, col. 2, No. 31 ; p. 272, note 1. 

2 See a few short specimens in Kirsch and Bernstein's 
Chrest. Syr., pp. 1-4, and in an article by L. Morales in the 
Z.D.M.G., xl. p. 410 sq. MSS.— Cod. Vat. clxxiii. ; Ind. 
Off. No. 9, "Tracts in Syriac," ff. 351-413. The Daf al- 
Hamm is contained in Paris, Anc. fonds 160. The cata- 
logue of Bar-Hebraeus's works in B.O., ii. 268, note, adds 
one Arabic book to this long list (col. 1, No. 19, at the 
foot) of which we know nothing but the title there given in 
Syriac, KethahhCi dhe-HenyCin Yuthmne, "On the Pleasure 
of Gain." 

3 Payne Smith, Gated., p. 377 ; Catal. Vat., iii. 358. 

4 B.O., ii. 463 ; Cod. Vat. Arab, dcxxxvi. (Mai, ScripU. 
Vett. Nova Coll., iv. 573). 



282 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

dhe-BJidhhathcl, and the larger grammar^ An 
independent work of his, also in Arabic, treats of 
The Bases, or First Principles, of the Faith and 
Consolation of the Hearts of Believers^. 

With Daniel bar Khattab we may close our 
list of Jacobite writers in the literature of Syria. 
The Nestorians kept the lamp burning for a little, 
though not much longer, as we shall presently 
see. 

Shelemon, or Solomon, of Khilat or Akhlat, 
on the shores of Lake Van, was present as 
metropolitan of Perath de-Maishan or al-Basrah 
at the consecration of the catholicus Sabhr-isho' 
in 1222^ Besides some prayers and short 
discourses {rnemrone), he wrote a treatise on the 
figure of the heavens and the earth*, and compiled 
a volume of analecta, partly theological, partly 
historical, which he entitled Kethabha dhe-Dheb- 
horltha or "the Bee." It is dedicated to his 
friend Narsai, bishop of Khoni-Shabhor or Beth 
Wazik, called by the Arabs al-Bawazig or al- 
Bawazij^, on the lesser Zab. Of this work an 

1 B.O., ii. 464. 

2 Rid., ii. 244 ; Cod. Vat. Arab. Ixxiv. (Mai, op. cit., iv. 
153). 

3 B.O., ii. 453, No. 75 ; Bar-Hebraeus, Ch7'on. Eccles., ii. 
371. 

4 B.O., iii. 1, 310. 

^ See Hoffmann, Aiisziige, pp. 189 and 296. 



THE BEE. — NESTORIAN HYMX-WRITERS. 283 

analysis has been given by Assemani in the B.O., 
iii. 1, 309-324, and there is a German translation 
of it by Schonfelder, 1866. It has been recently 
edited by Mr E. A. W. Budge, of the British 
Museum, with an English translation, Oxford, 
1886 \ 

This was an age of song with the Nestorians, 
in which lived some of their favourite writers of 
hymns. (1) One of the most conspicuous of these 
is George Warda (the Rose) of Arbel or Irbil, 
whose poems have entered so largely into the use 
of the Nestorian Church that one of their service 
books is to this day called the War da-. His date 
may be gathered from certain of his hymns, which 
speak of the calamities of the years 1535-38 = 
1224-27 A.D.2 (2) About the same time flourished 
Mas'ud of the family Beth Kashsha (in Arabic 
Ibn al-Kass), who was physician (hakim) to the 
caliph al-Musta'sim (1242-58), and outlived his 

1 MSS.— Cod. Vat. clxxvi., clxxvii.; Brit. Mus. Add. 
25875; RAS. Add. 76; Munich, Cod. Syr. 7 (with an 
Arabic translation). Bodl. Pocock 79 and Paris, Anc. 
fonds 113, contain only an Arabic translation, different 
from that in the Munich MS. 

2 Badger, The Nestorians, ii. 25. A few specimens are 
given by Cardalji in the Liher Thesauri, p. 51. Badger has 
translated one, op. ciL, pp. 51-57. 

3 Catal. Vat., iii. 391, at the top. Important ^ISS. of 
Warda's hymns are Cod. Vat. clxxxiv. ; Berlin, Alt. Best. 
24, Sachau 188 ; Cambridge, coll. of the S.P.C.K. 



284 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

patron \ One of his poems for the feast of the 
Epiphany occurs in Cod. Vat. clxxxiv. (CataL, iii. 
p. 389) ^ (3) Khamis bar Kardahe of Arbel was 
a younger contemporary of Bar-Hebrseus, as 
appears from his correspondence with Daniel bar 
Khattab (see above). He too has bequeathed his 
name to one of the Nestorian service books, which 
is still called the Khamis^. (4) Gabriel Kamsa 
(the Locust) was a monk of Beth-Kuka. He 
became metropolitan of Mosul, and was present 
at the consecration of Yabh-alaha III. in 1281 ^ 
There is a long poem of his in Cod. Vat. clxxx. 
{CataL, iii. 376), treating of the creation, the 
incarnation, the life of our Saviour, the preaching 
of the apostles, and the praises of the fathers of 
the church, and concluding with an encomium on 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 561; Bar-Hebrseus, Hist. Dynast., pp. 
522-523 (transl., pp. 341-342). 

2 See Cardahi, Liber Thesauri, pp. 125-128. 

3 Badger, The Nestorians, ii. 24 ; see one of his poems 
translated, pp. 38-49. Cardah! gives some specimens in 
Liher Thesauri, pp. 59-62. Important MSS. of his poems 
are— Cod. Vat. clxxxv.-vi.-viii. ; Brit. Mus. Add. 18716, f. 
44 a, and Orient. 2304; Berhn, Sachaii 178; see also Cod. 
Vat. Ixxxix. and Brit. Mus. Or. 1300 at the end. Berlin, 
Sachau 229, contains a poem of Bar-Hebreeus, amplified 
by Khamis and later poets; compare B.O., ii. 308, iii. 
1, 566. 

* B.O., ii. 456. Cardahi has published a specimen, 
Liher Thesauri, pp. 107-113. 



'abhd-isho' bar berIkha. 285 

Sabhr-isho', the founder of Beth-Kuka. (5) John 
of Mosul was a monk of the convent of St Michael 
near that city\ His work entitled Kethdbha 
dhe-Shappir Dubbdre was published at Rome in 
1868 by E. J. Millos, archbishop of 'Akra, as a 
school-book, under the title of Directorium Spirit- 
uale. It is, of course, impossible to say to what 
extent the original has been tampered with in 
such an edition, but there is a MS. in the Brit. 
Mus. Or. 24501 The composition of the work is 
placed by Millos in 1245, and the death of the 
author by Cardahi (Lib. Thes., p. 120) in 1270. 

'Abhd-isho' bar Berikha holds nearly the same 
position in regard to the Nestorian Church that 
Bar-Hebrseus does in relation to the Jacobite, 
though far inferior in talent and learning to " the 
Son of the Hebrew." He flourished under Yabh- 
alaha III., being firstly bishop of Shiggar (Sinjar) 
and Beth-'Arbaye about 1285^ and afterwards, 
before 1291^ metropolitan of Nisibis and Armenia. 
He died in 1318^ He has left us a list of his 

1 Cardahi (Liber Thesaicri, p. 118) wrongly says "at 
Baghdadh."* 

2 The most reverend editor inveighs in his preface 
against " the Protaye (Protestants), who believe in nothing 
at all"; seep. 14, 1. 12. 

3 B.O., i. 539. 

* Ibid.,i. 538; iii. 1, 327, col. 2. 

^ Ibid.y i. 539 ; iii. 1, 3, notes 2, 3, 325, note 1. 



286 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

own publications at the end of the Gatalogus 
Lihrorum, in the 5.O., iii. 1, 325 sq. Several of 
these seem to be lost, — at least they do not appear 
in the catalogues of our collections, — such as the 
commentary on the Old and New Testaments \ 
the Kethahha Katholikos on the marvellous dis- 
pensation or life of our Lord on earth-, the 
Kethahha Skolastikos against all the heresies ^ the 
book of the mysteries of the Greek philosophers^ 
the twelve discourses comprising all the sciences ^ 
and the ecclesiastical decisions and canons ^ as 
also an Arabic work with the title Shah-marwdrld 
or "the King-pearls" The Margamthd or " Pearl" 
is a theological work in five sections, treating of 
God, the creation, the Christian dispensation, the 
sacraments of the church, and the things that 
prefigure the world to come. There is a careful 
analysis of its contents in B.O., iii. 1, 352-360. 
It has been edited, with a Latin translation, in 
Mai, Scri'ptt. Vett Nova Coll., x., and done into 
English by Badger, The Nestorians, ii. 380 sq. 
The date of composition is 12981 'Abhd-isho 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 325. 2 j^.^ iUd. 

3 Id., p. 360. 4 i^^ i-^id^ 

5 Id., ibid. 6 Id., ihid. 

^ Perhaps only an Arabic recension or abridgement of 
the MargdnlthCi. 

8 MSS.— Cod. Vat. clxxv.-vi., cccclvi. ; KAS. Add. 76; 

Berlin, Sachau 4, 312 ; Cambridge, coll. of the S.P.C.K. 



'abhd-isho' bar berikha. 287 

himself translated this work into Arabic in 1312, 
as we learn from 'Amr ibn Matta in the Majdal, 
where large portions of it are quoted \ The 
Collection of Synodical Canons or Nomocanon is 
also fully analysed by Assemani, B,0., iii. 1, 332- 
351. It has been edited, with a Latin translation, 
in Mai, Scriptt Vett. Nova Coll., x.^ As a poet 
'Abhd-ish5' does not shine according to our ideas, 
although his countrymen admire his verses greatly. 
Not only is he obscure in vocabulary and style, 
but he has adopted and even exaggerated all the 
worse faults of Arabic writers of rimed prose and 
scribblers of verse ^. His principal effort in poetry 
is the Paradise of Eden, a collection of fifty poems 
on theological subjects, which has been analysed 
by Assemani, B.O., iii. 1, 325-332*. This volume 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 360, note 4; see Cod. Vat. Ixv., cccvii., 
and Cod. Vat. Arab. ex. (Mai, Scriptt. Vett. Nova Coll.y 
iv.) ; compare B.O., iii. 1, 589. 

2 MSS. — Cod. Vat. cxxviii., cxxix., ccclv. 

3 See Payne Smith's minute descriptions in his Catal.y 
p. 523 sq. 

^ MSS.— Cod. Vat. ccxlv., ccclxxix. ; Paris, Anc. fonds 
166; Berlin, Alt. Best. 41, 1, Sachau 1, 21, 80; Brit. Mus. 
Orient. 2302-3; Cambridge, coll. of the S.P.C.K. [The 
first part of the Pardaisd (25 poems) has been edited, with 
short notes in Arabic, by Gabriel Cardahi (Bey rut. Catholic 
Press, 1889). Specimens of the work, and of the scholia, 
with Latin translation, have also been published by H. 
Gismondi {ibid., 1888). Cf. Noldeke in Z.D.M.G., xliii., 
675 sq.l 



288 SYRIAC LITERATURE. 

was published by the author in 1291, and in 1316 
he found that it was necessary to add an ex- 
planatory commentary \ Another collection of 
twenty-two poems, which may be regarded as 
parts of one composition, treating of the love of 
wisdom and knowledge, is found in Cod. Vat. 
clxxiv. (CataL, iii. 359) and Bodl. Marsh. 201 
(P. Smith, Catal, p. 510) ; and a third, including 
the above and a selection from the Paradise, is 
contained in Bodl. Marsh. 361 2. Of his minor 
works, enumerated in the B.O., iii. 1, 361, the 
consolatory discourses, the letters, and the com- 
mentary on the epistle of Aristotle to Alexander 
concerning the great art (alchemy) seem to be 
lost. The turgdme are collected in a MS. at 
Berlin, Alter Bestand 41, 4. His commentary on 
an enigmatical poem of Simeon Shankelawi we 
have already mentioned (see above, p. 258). To 
us his most useful work decidedly is the Catalogue 
of Books, which forms the basis of vol. iii. part 1 
of Assemani's Bihl. Orient There is an older 
edition of it by Abraham Ecchellensis, Rome, 
1653. It has been translated into English by 

1 B.O., iii., 1, 327, col. 2. 

2 Payne Smith, Catal, p. 523; see also p. 531, Nos.30, 
31. In Paris, Anc. fonds 104, there is a poem explana- 
tory of the ecclesiastical calendar (Zotenberg, CataL, 
p. 128). 



HISTORY OF YABH-ALAHA. 289 

Badger^ The Catalogue consists of four parts, 
viz., (1) the Scriptures of the Old Testament, with 
sundry apocrypha, B.O., iii. 1, 5 ; (2) the Scriptures 
of the New Testament, p. 8 ; (3) the Greek fathers 
who were translated into Syriac, p. 13 ; (4) the 
Syriac fathers, chiefly, of course, of the Nestorian 
Church, pp. 65-362. It is to be regretted that 
'Abhd-isho contented himself merely with enu- 
merating the titles of books, and never thought it 
w^orth his while to give the date of the wi^iters, 
nor even to arrange his notices in any kind of 
chronological orders 

[An interesting work of this period, which has 
only recently become known in Europe, is the 
biography of the catholicus Yabh-alaha III. 
(1281-1317), from the pen of a contemporary. 
A copy of the only MS. known to exist was 
supplied to M. Bedjan, and by him pablished at 
Paris in 1888. It is a simple narrative, in 
charming style, of the life of Yabh-alaha, who 
was a native of China and rose from a humble 
station to the headship of the Nestorian Church. 
It is especially valuable for the light it throws on 
the relations between the Mongolian princes of 

1 The Nestorians, ii. 361. Bcadger ascribes the work 
to the year 1298, probably on the authority of his MS. 

2 MSS.— Cod. Vat. clxxvi.; RAS. Add. 76 (imperfect); 
Rome, Bibl. Vitt. Email. A. 1194, MSS. Sessor. 162; 
Cambridge, coll. of the S.RC.K. 

S. L. 19 



290 SYKIAC LITERATURE. 

the period and their Christian subjects. A full 
account is given in Duval's article, Journal Asia- 
tique, 1889, p. 313 sq.] 

After 'Abhd-isho' there are hardly any names 
among the Nestorians worthy of a place in the 
literary history of the Syrian nation. We may 
make an exception in favour of the catholicus 
Timothy II., who was elected in succession to 
Yabh-alaha III. in 1318, having previously been 
metropolitan of Mosul and Irbil under the name 
of Josephs He wrote a work on the sacraments 
of the church, of which Assemani has given an 
analysis in B.O., iii. 1, 572-580 2. His death took 
place in 1328. 

1 B.O., iii. 1, 567. 2 yat. cii. 



INDEX OF AUTHORS 

AND OF ANONYMOUS WORKS AND TRANSLATIONS. 

N.B. The more important references, viz. those to the paragraphs 
in ichich the respective authors or ivorks are specially treated, 
are printed in darker type than the others. 



Aaron (Ahron) 222 

Aaron (or John) bar Ma'dani 
263-265, 267 

Ahgar, Letters of 26 

Abha 38 

Abha bar Berikh-sebyaneli of 
Kashkar, v. Mar-abba II. 

'Abhd-isho', v. Joseph of 
Hazza 

'Abhd-isho' bar Bahriz 234 

'Abhd-isho' bar Berikha of 
Nisibis 20, 30, 31, 32, 38, 
42, 45, 50, 58, 59, 65, 90, 
97, 100, 109, 110, 112, 114, 
120, 124, 127, 128, 131, 132, 
148, 168, 170, 173, 177, 180, 
186, 187, 188, 189, 191, 194, 
195, 212, 214, 217, 218, 220, 
221, 228, 229, 232, 233, 238, 
258, 278, 285-289, 290 

'Abhd-isho' bar Shahharc (Bar 
Shi'arah?) 232 



'Abhsamya 41-42 
'Abhshota 64 

Abhzudh (Bazudh?) 228-230 
Abraham bar Dashandadh 

185-186, 191, 216 
Abraham of Kashkar (i) 118- 

119, (ii) 119, 131 
Abraham of Nephtar (Neth- 

par) 111-112, 178 
Abraham of Nisibis 114, 119, 

129, 168 
Abraham the Mede 63 
Abu Ghnlib bar SabunI 243- 

244 
Abu Halim 255-256 
Acacius of Amid 51, 59 
Acacius of Seleucia 59-60, 63 
Acts of the Apostles, Apocry- 
phal 26 
Adam, Testament of 2b 
Addai, Doctrine of 9, 43 
^sojj's Fables 241-242 



292 



INDEX. 



Aha 46 

Ahron, v. Aaron 
Aliu-dh'emmeh 97-98 
Alaha-zekha 181-182 
Alexander^ Pseudo-Callis- 

thenes's Life of 139-140, 201 
'Anan-isho' of Hedhaiyabh 

174-176, 212 
Andrew 232-233 
Antonius the Rhetorician 203- 

204 
Aphraates 4, 5, 9, 10, 32-33, 

143, 159 
Apocrypha 5-6, 25-27 
Ara 61 
Athauasius 11. of Balad, 154- 

156 

Babhai bar Nesibhnaye 167, 
184-185 

Babhai the archimandrite 126, 
128, 130, 131, 167-169, 177 

Balai 39-40 

Bar All 212, 215-216 

Bar Bahhll 212, 228 

Bardesanes (Bar Daisan) 28- 
30, 61 

Bar-Hebrseus 2, 20, 22 n. , 23, 
32, 39, 41, 42, 58, 70, 77, 
97, 100, 102, 116, 121, 122, 
123, 133, 139, 142, 144, 148, 
149, 158, 163, 164, 166, 172, 
181, 187, 194, 195, 203, 204, 
205, 206 n., 208, 211, 212, 
217, 224, 225, 245, 253, 254, 
259, 265-281, 284, 285 

Bar-'idta 131-132 

Bar Sahde 185 



Bar-samyd, Martyrdom of 43 
Bar Saroshwai, v. Henan-isho' 
Bar-sauma of Nisibis,57-58,81 
Bar-sauma the archimandrite 

65-66 
Bar Shi'arah, v. 'Abhd-isho' 

bar Shahhare 
Bazudh (or Michael), v. Abh- 

zudh 
Beth Selokh, History of 44 
Bodh 123-124, 239 

Candius, v. Kendl 

Causa Causarum 147, 242-243 

Chronicon Edessenum 41, 101- 

102, 201 
Clement's Recognitions 61 
Constantine of Harran 160- 

161, 162 
Constitutiones Apostolorum 27 
Cosmas 56 

Curetonian Gospels 7-13 
Cyprian of Nisibis 189-191, 

205 
Cyriacus 165-166, 196, 197 
Cyrillona 40-42 

Dadha 54-55 

Dadh-isho' (i) 56, (ii) 131, 167 

Daniel bar Khattab 281-282, 

284 
Daniel bar Maryam 180 
Daniel bar Moses 163 
Daniel of Salah 159-160 
Daniel of Tubhanitha 234-235 
David bar Paiil 259-260 
David of Beth Eabban 183-184 
Be Fato 30 



INDEX. 



298 



Denah-isho', v. Isho'-denah 
Denha (or Ihibha) 218-219, 259 
Didascalia Apostolorum 27 
Dionysius (or Jacob) bar Salibi 

17, 144, 246-250 
Dionysius of Tell-Mahre 2, 41, 

52, 78, 80, 84, 105, 196-203, 

204 
Doctrina Apostolorum 27 

Edessene Chronicle, v. Chroni- 
con Edessenum 

Elias bar Shinaya of Nisibis 
32, 132, 148, 158, 163, 182, 
183, 194, 195, 222, 235-239, 
257, 259 

Elias of al-Anbar 228, 230 

Elias (of Dara ?) 82 

Elias of Merv 179-180 

Elias I. of Tirhan 212, 233-234, 
236, 259 

Elias the patriarch 161-162 

Elisha (or Hosea) of Nisibis 60 

Emmanuel bar Shahhare 231- 
232 

Ephraim Syrus 9, 10, 11, 29, 
33-37, 38, 39, 41, 52, 53, 
72, 122, 162, 226 

Eusehius — Theophania, His- 
tory of confessors in Pales- 
tine, and Ecclesiastical His- 
tonj, 61 

Gabriel bar Bokht-isho' 214- 

215, 217 
Gabriel Kamsa 284-285 
Gabriel of Hormizclshcr 120- 

121 



Gabriel Tauretba 180-181 
George, bishop of Serugh 67, 

151, 154 
George, bishop of the Arab 

tribes 32, 70, 144, 156-159 
George of Be'elthan 164-165, 

194 
George of Kaphra 178-179 
George of Martyropolis 160, 162 
George of Mosul and Arbel 

180, 230-231, 234 
George Warda 283 
Gregory the abbot 42-43 

Hahhihh, Martyrdom o/43 
Hannana of Hedhaiyabh 124- 

127, 167 
Harmouius 29 

Henan-Isho' I. 181-182, 183, 
' 184 

Henan-isho' barSaroshwai228 
Herod and Pilate, Letters or" 26 
Honain ibn Ishak 10, 176, 
211-213, 214, 215, 259, 272 
Hosea of Nisibis, v. Elisha 

Ibas (Ihibha) (i) 48, 49-51, 59, 

64, 65, 72, (ii) v. Denha 
Isaac of Autioch 39, 51-54, 72, 

226 
Isaac of Nineveh 110-111, 235 
Isho' bar 'All, v. Bar 'All 
Isho' bar Bahlul, r. Bar Bah- 

liil 
Isho' bar Non 186, 216-218 
Isho' Marfizaya 215 
Isho-dadh of Mcrv 220-221 
Isho'-denah of al-Basrah 195 



294 



INDEX. 



Isho-yabh (or Joseph) bar 

Malkon 256-257 
isho'-yabh I. of Arzon 125, 
_ 129-130 
Isho'-yabh II. of Gedhala 168, 

169-170, 172 
Isho'-yabh III. of Hedhaiyabh 

171-174, 175, 178, 179, 180, 

183 

Jacob bar Salibi, v. D'ionysius 
Jacob (or Severus) bar Shakko 

164, 258, 260-263 
Jacob Burde'ana 85-88, 97 
Jacob of Edessa 4, 17, 24, 67, 

74, 84, 90, 91 n., 93, 141- 

154, 156, 158, 175, 273, 277 
Jacob of Maiperkat 263 
Jacob of Nisibis 31-32, 33, 122 
Jacob of Serugh 39, 67-72, 76, 

77, 78, 79, 110, 150 n., 162 
Jacob of Serugh, Lives of 67 
Januarius Cand^'datus 156 
John bar Aphtonya 83 -85 
John bar Aphtonya, Life of 84 
John bar Cursus of Telia 73, 

81-83, 86 
John bar Madani, v. Aaron 
John (or Yeshu') bar Shushan 

53, 225-227 
John bar Zo'bi 218, 234, 257, 

258-259, 261 
John I. of Antioch 139 
John of Asia or Ephesus, 2, 

80, 85, 87, 89, 102-107, 108, 

200, 202 
John of Beth Garmai (i) 63, 

(ii) 176-177 



John of Dara 200, 204-205 
John of Harran and Mardin 

244-246, 248, 251 
John of Mar on 223-224 
John of Mosul 285 
John of Nisibis 114-115 
John Sabha 109-110 
Joseph, Poem on the history of 

37, 40 
Joseph and Asyath, History of 

25, 113 
Joseph bar Malkon, v. Isho'- 
yabh 
Joseph Huzaya 115-116, 124, 

150, 175 
Joseph of Hazza (Hazzaya) 

127-129, 167, 168 
Joseph of Melitene 225 
Joseph of Seleucia 121-122 
Joshua the Stylite 68, 77-78, 

101, 202 
Jubilees, Book of 25, 98 
Julian, Romances of, 99-101 

Kalilah and Dimnah [Kalilagh 

loe-Damnagh) 124, 239-240, 

241 
Karkaphensian tradition 20-25, 

175 
Kendl (Candius) 221 
Kethdbhd dha-Kheydndydthd, 

V. Liber Naturalium 
Kethdbhd dhe-Ndmdse dliAth- 

rawdthd, v. De Fato 
Khamis bar Kardahe 281, 284 
Kunil 65 

Laws of the Emperors 95-97 



INDEX. 



295 



Lazarus bar Sabhetha 199, 204 
Lazarus of Beth Kandasa 162- 

163 
Leo 160-161 
Liber Naturalium 132-133 

Malkite Version 17-19 
Ma'na 62-63, 64, 94 
Mara III. of Amid 73, 83, 108 
Marabba I. 19-20, 116-118, 

119, 120, 121, 122 
Marabha II. 186-187 
Marl, Acts of 44 
Mari the Persian 48, 49, 51, 59 
Mark bar Kiki 224-225 
Martyrologies 43-46 
Marutha of Maiperkat 44-46, 

137 
Marutha of Taghrith 46, 136- 

137, 279 
Massoretic 3ISS.A, 20-25, 150- 

151 
Mas'iid 283-284 
Me' drat h Gazze 25 n., 98-99, 

201 
Meshiha-zekha 130-131 
Michael I. (the Elder) 246, 

249, 250-253, 254 
Mikha (i) 60, 63 (ii) 183 
Milles 30-31 
Moses (or Severus) bar Kepha 

207-211 
Moses of Aggel 13, 25, 108. 

112-113 

Narsai 58-59, 63, 114, 115, 

116, 150 
Nestorian Chronicle, 183 



Nonnus of Nisibis 205-206 

Old Sijriac Gospels 8, 10, 13 

Paul bar Kakai 63 
Paul of Callinlcus 94-95 
Paul of Telia 14-16, 25, 134 
Paul the abbot 95 n., 135-136, 

149, 219 
Paul the Persian 122-123 
Paulonas or Paulinus 38 
Ilept ei/xap/iJi€V7}s, v. De Fato 
Peshittd 3-13 

Peter of Callinlcus 113-114 
Pethion 195 
Philip 30 
Philoxenus of Mabbogh 13-14, 

16, 72-76, 77, 112 
Phocas bar Sergius of Edessa 

93 
Probus 64-65, 89, 94 
Protevangelium Jacobi 26 
Psalm CLi. 25 
Psalms, Apocnjphal 25 n. 

Rabbula9, 11,39,47-49, 62, 112 
Romanus thei^hysician (Theo- 

dosius of Antioch) 77, 206- 

207, 277 

Sabhr-Isho' the catholicus 125, 

133-134 
Sabhr-Isho" Eustam 177-178 
Sahdona of Halamiln 170-171, 

180 
Said bar Sabiinl 227, 243 
St John Baptist, Praijers of 

26 



296 



INDEX. 



St Paul, Apocalypse o/26 
St Peter, Doctrine of 26 
Samuel 66 

Sajiherib, History of 25 
Sergius of Eas-'aiu 88-93, 94, 

97, 119, 120 
Service-hooks 27-28 
Severus bar Shakko, v. Jacob 
Severus Sebokht 137-139, 141, 

154, 259 
Skarbel, Hypomnemata of 43 
Simeon Barkaya 132 
Simeon bar Sabba'e 30-31 
Simeon bar Tabbakhe of Kash- 

kar 188 
Simeon Kiikaya 79 
Simeon of Beth Arsham 57, 

58, 62, 79-81, 108, 202 
Simeon of Beth Garmai 134 
Simeon Shankelawi 257-258, 

288 
Simeon the deacon 222 
Simeon the Stylite 55-56 
Simeon the Stylite, Life of 56, 

66 
Sindhdn {Sindibddh), Story of 

240-241 
Solomon of al-Basrah 282-283 
Stephen bar Sudhaile 69, 76- 

77, 243 
Suren or Siirm 189-190 

Tatian's Diatessaron 7-10, 35 



Theodore bar Khoni 222, 229 
Theodore bar Wahbon 253- 

254 
Theodore bar Zariidi 93 
Theodore of Merv 90, 119-120 
Theodosius of Antioch, v. 

Komanus 
Theodosius of Edessa 203 
Theophilus of Edessa 152 n., 

163-164 
Thomas, Gospel of 26 
Thomas of Harkel or Heraclea 

16, 84, 134, 151 n. 
Thomas of Marga 131, 183, 

184, 205, 219-220 
Timothy I. 186, 191-194, 216 
Timothy II. 290 
Titus of Bostra's Discourses 61 
Transitns beatae Virginis 26 

Versions of the Bible 3-20 

Warda, v. George 
Women, Book of 5 

Yabh-aldhd III., Life of 289- 

290 
Yazidadh 61, 63 
Yeshu' bar Shushan, v. John 

Zacharias Rhetor 83, 88, 89, 

107-108, 113 
Zenobius 38-39, 41, 52 



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